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Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2008

Post office ponders moving

Site near Hallmark a possibility

Local developers continue their efforts to revitalize downtown. And they're hoping for the post office's stamp of approval.

June 26, 2008

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The U.S. Postal Service is mulling whether to move its downtown post office to a site just south of the Hallmark Cards Inc. plant at 101 McDonald Drive.

The site is among several pitched as options for the postal service, which is being asked to consider moving to make way for a downtown redevelopment project.

"I think that would a be a good use for it," said Paul Werner, a Lawrence architect working on behalf of owners of the five-acre lot at the northwest corner of Princeton Boulevard and McDonald Drive, just south of a Hallmark parking lot. "But there are a whole lot of things that go with that: moving a post office, building one, cutting a deal with the government.

"We've shown them several potential sites. That's one of them."

For now, at least, postal officials aren't ready to sign onto an agreement to relocate anything. The service is busy conducting an internal analysis, to determine what might be needed to make such a deal a reality.

"Nothing's been signed," said Judy Raney, Lawrence postmaster. "It's in limbo, at this point."

The post office owns its current downtown operations center, at 645 Vt., which has been the main Lawrence post office since 1965. The center now has 99 employees - that's carriers, support staffers and others, who together are responsible for accommodating customers at the office or serving customers on 45 routes.

The main office's service area covers much of Lawrence, generally north of 18th Street, and rural areas stretching into areas of Jefferson and Leavenworth counties.

The post office isn't against selling its property downtown, Raney said. It's all a matter of seeing what it would take to set up shop elsewhere - while retaining a storefront downtown.

Provided that developers continue to pursue the project, Raney said, "Yes, I think it will happen."

Scheduling remains another matter. Just as Raney acknowledges that government often doesn't move at a particularly swift pace, Werner's clients still have their hands full. The same principal owners selling the five-acre lot also are busy building a hotel - The Oread Inn - just off the northern edge of Kansas University's main campus.

As that construction continues, Werner said, postal officials will have time to compile information for a potential relocation.

"It's a huge process," Werner said.

Comments

LogicMan 6 years, 5 months ago

"Except that we already have 3 postal storefronts at both Dillons and the HyVee."My experiences with the non-USPS facilities and employees at such places has not been excellent. Same with non-UPS drop-off locations. Fortunately UPS bought Mailboxes, Etc.Postal and shipping services, like banking, require that customers trust who they are doing business with. A non-postal grocery store employee just doesn't pass my trustworthiness test. Fine people, though, typically. Federal law enforcement applies at true USPS locations as well.A true red, white and blue USPS branch is needed in fast-growing northwestern Lawrence! Get the land now, before it's gone.

BigPrune 6 years, 5 months ago

Since when did the United States Post Office put out a formal public notice that it was seeking a new location? Are they picking a new location behind the scenes prior to sending out a formal notice to the public so they look open and upfront to Joe Taxpayer? An architect is already working on something? hmmm. Could the public notice be construed as these articles in the newspaper? Something doesn't sound right.

OnlyTheOne 6 years, 5 months ago

Ahhhhhh. It's the old payola roll blues wafting air......

alm77 6 years, 5 months ago

LogicMan - Agreed. Except that we already have 3 postal storefronts at both Dillons and the HyVee. I never have to go to the downtown location because the grocery stores now do it all.

ukillaJJ 6 years, 5 months ago

This is absolutely retarded!A downtown is a perfect place to live, work, and play (which includes mailing things). Spreading things out in the city just leads to more urban sprawl, increased gas usage, and an overall uglier city.

JSDAD 6 years, 5 months ago

why dont they just rent space in the groc. stores like the banks and county offices?

ECM 6 years, 5 months ago

The lot near Hallmark is not being prepared for construction. That is where they are dumping the dirt from the construction site for the new hotel up by campus.

LogicMan 6 years, 5 months ago

"The post office isn't against selling its property downtown, Raney said. It's all a matter of seeing what it would take to set up shop elsewhere - while retaining a storefront downtown."The downtown storefront is needed, with easy walk- and drive-up access and parking. Moving the processing portion closer to the highway, for easier/faster truck access, makes great sense. But that bridge replacement project will makes things difficult for a while -- so aim for three or so years out.A storefront (with counter service) in far west Lawrence is needed too, and would help reduce lines at the two other stations.

ashmole 6 years, 5 months ago

I wish our postmaster thought more about providing efficient service to the community than moving buildings to accommodate downtown developers. The staff at our POs are great, there are just never enough of them for the volume of business. What's more, the POs in Johnson County are open much longer (and more convenient) hours.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 6 years, 5 months ago

Someone is moving to the lot by Hallmark because the bulldozers are already out leveling the lot for construction. They have already been working on the lot for weeks now. Maybe this project is further along than they say?

bhenick 6 years, 5 months ago

Put me down as another on the long list of people who would feel screwed if the honest-to-God USPS retail counter disappeared from downtown, never to be seen again.MPO on McDonald Dr.? Oh, that's a laff riot.

lelly 6 years, 5 months ago

In the last article regarding the area near hallmark, we were told the land was being built up to "street level". every time I go by, I see it higher than before. It is now far above street level. When will the city's stormwater engineer go out and see what effect a plot of land being built far higher than its neighbors will do to the area? What does hallmark think of that?

lawrencian 6 years, 5 months ago

I would be incredibly disappointed to have to go so far out of my way to get my mail -- the post office and its boxes definitely needs to stay downtown!

kugrad 6 years, 5 months ago

The post office should simply say that they have no intention of spending taxpayer dollars to move so that, probably without public sale, some private interests can take hold of the property at less than fair value (essentially a taxpayer subsidy to their already substantial wealth), then turn public property into private property and knock down all the trees on 7th, then put up something they profit from but the rest of us do not need. Undoubtably they will want some sort of tax 'relief' as they hose us. This is a horrible idea from start to finish. Don't let private equity interests control public policy.

BigPrune 6 years, 5 months ago

When the United States Post Office sells, since Postmaster Raney said, "Yes, I think it will happen," will the US Government let the general public bid on purchasing their downtown location, or has the United States Government already promised to sell their building to a select developer who also happens to own the property south of Hallmark? Would this be considered an "arms length" transaction if it were to happen?

Jackson 6 years, 5 months ago

Dillon's on 23rd have almost no stamp selection - recently, not even 1 cent stamps! Also, one has to wait for check cashing & various other non PO functions of their customer service dept.

deskboy04 6 years, 5 months ago

The downtown post office is a lot of fun when those cloggers are down there. I enjoy seeing them every year when I pay my taxes. Would they still do that wonderful stuff in the new post office?

hail2oldku 6 years, 5 months ago

fu7il3 (Anonymous) says: "So, we are in such a financial crisis that we are...moving the post office."The city isn't doing this. It is a private developer and the federal government.deskboy04 (Anonymous) says: "The downtown post office is a lot of fun when those cloggers are down there. I enjoy seeing them every year when I pay my taxes. Would they still do that wonderful stuff in the new post office?"They stopped doing this when the post office decided it didn't need to stay open until midnight for the late filer.Jackson (Anonymous) says: "Dillon's on 23rd have almost no stamp selection - recently, not even 1 cent stamps!"Many locations ran out of 1 cent stamps again this time around. At one point last time even the main PO was out of them. Also, if you are at the 23rd St Dillons you are closer to the south PO location than the downtown office anyway.JackRipper (Anonymous) says: "It makes so much sense to move one of the most popular spots in downtown Lawrence somewhere else."The post office? Really?!?I'm not sure which one of us, but either you or I have to get out more. I visit a hell of a lot more places downtown way more often than I visit the post office.

fu7il3 6 years, 5 months ago

So, we are in such a financial crisis that we are buying a bus depot, paving streets that were recently paved, and moving the post office.

i_have_only_valid_opinions 6 years, 5 months ago

rumor_man (Anonymous) says: You must have missed this i_have_only_valid_opinionshttp://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/jun/03:***********yep, i missed that

Mr_Grumpy 6 years, 5 months ago

I like this idea. It'll be a great fit.

Bladerunner 6 years, 5 months ago

I would like to know what kind of downtown developement is being contemplated. Somehow I feel someone is trying to backdoor their old library plan.

TacoBob 6 years, 5 months ago

Oh no, if you move the post office, we will lose the downtown location!Did you read the article? There will be a storefront downtown. Same access as before - no difference in service. Great chance to use the location for something more beneficial to y'all. And great chance to dump an ugly building. Helloooooooo - there will be a storefront downtown.........get it???And so what if Fritzel is involved? Every city has developers, just another business. If it were not Fritzel it would be some other company. At least they are a locals. Let them spend their money and improve your precious downtown.I left Lawrence over 10 years ago after being there for over 40. It cracks me up that the same issues that were the hot topics then are still the same. SLT, library, Farmland, and on and on.Lawrence - get something done!!! You guys are stuck. Boring!The 'Berkley of the Midwest' - HA! You wish. We have haven't had that spirit here since 1969.....name that tune.....

Keith 6 years, 5 months ago

"cheeseburger (Anonymous) says:Was it lost on any of you that the lot near Hallmark is owned by Fritzel? Presumably not just a coincidence, given that Fritzel has been trying to develop the area of the MPO & library!!"They sure went the long way around to avoid mentioning that name in the article, didn't they?

Tara Painter 6 years, 5 months ago

Great Idea, downtown has two much traffic as it is on top of a post office already being stressfull and the parking there sucks. GO FOR IT!

Tony Holladay 6 years, 5 months ago

I just wish the post office would bring back stamp vending machines. Ones that you can actually put real money into it. And ones that work. I hate going to the post office after hours and not being able to by a stamp. If the new post office is going to have stamp vending machines, I say go for it!

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