U.S. Postal Service back to looking for new Redmond downtown location
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
November 7, 2011 · Updated 12:07 PM
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is once again seeking existing space for a new post office location in downtown Redmond.
Ernie Swanson, spokesperson for USPS's Seattle district, said they had previously been looking at a location at 8215 160th Ave. N.E., but things did not work out for them.
"We never finalized that lease," he said. "We were in the discussion stage and we backed out of it."
Swanson could not say why this happened.
He said USPS has until the end of May 2012 to vacate the current post office building at 16135 NE 85th St., which was sold more than a year ago to Cosmos Development Company, a real estate company in Bellevue.
Swanson said between now and next May, they will continue their search for a 5,000 to 5,100 square-foot building in downtown Redmond.
During the moving process, Swanson said USPS will first move the letter carriers and delivery and distribution center at the downtown location to the post office at 7241 185th Ave. N.E. in east Redmond. This will probably happen early next year, he said
.Swanson said this initial move will only affect where letter carriers — who deliver mail door to door — sort and organize their mail and routes. This relocation will not affect customers because the retail operations will be the last to move once a new location is secured.
USPS retail operations include services such as package sending, certified mail, money orders, post office boxes and stamp purchasing. Swanson said they are looking for a site that will support these services as well as have a loading dock to easily transfer packages and other mail. USPS is looking for a centrally located site with about 51,000 square feet of land for the building, parking and landscaping, he said.
USPS is focusing their real estate search on downtown Redmond, but Swanson said if they are unable to find a suitable location, they may just move the retail services to the east Redmond location.
"It's not for certain," he said.
The east Redmond location is currently just a distribution center, Swanson said.While the downtown location is the only post office in Redmond, Swanson said the city is home to contract stations within businesses such as stores and banks, which are run by the businesses' employees but offer virtually all of the retail services a standalone post office would. He said these stations usually wouldn't have P.O. boxes or offer international mail services.
The post office relocation has been prompted by the drop off in mail service, according to Swanson.
Swanson said the volume of mail going out has gone down significantly during the last four or five years and USPS has excess space in many of their facilities.
"Redmond looked like a viable candidate for sale," Swanson said.
The current Redmond post office building is 12,910 square feet, more than twice the size of the building they are seeking.Swanson said USPS is planning to lease the new location, rather than buying.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.