When it comes to the relocation of the at 220 Park Road, Burlingame residents made their position clear: they would like the new post office to be in roughly the same area as the old one—walking distance—and would like preservation of the original building.
Residents gathered to listen to postal service representatives Monday night and provide their input on the future post office location.
Representatives assured residents they would treat the space as a historic building, but without official historical designation from the state, residents were skeptical. Postal service representatives said a historical consultant would work with them to make sure the integrity of the building is maintained when choosing the bidder.
The post office is relocating due to cost considerations. The United States Postal Service had a $5.1 billion deficit owed at the end of the 2011 fiscal year as more people move their business online and retail items such as stamps and envelopes become widely available outside of post offices.
Just over 4,000 square feet is needed for the post office to complete its business, but the Park Road location spans 13,380 square feet.
“Just in utility and building maintenance, we’re looking at reducing costs at $70,000 per year,” said Jeff Suess, who works in facilities for the postal service. “The Post Master General is asking us to make a leaner, faster and smarter organization.”
In the next 90 days, the post office will go through a process of performing an appraisal of the property and completing a survey, title report and environmental review.
Members of the community asked about the potential to keep the post office within the same building by leasing the space from its new owner. They discussed creating a community group to save the post office, something postal service officials said has been done before.
All operations from the existing Burlingame Main Post Office, including P.O. Boxes, will be housed in the replacement facility. They expect the move to be completed in one day without any significant breaks in service.
“We won’t sell the building until we have a lease that’s signed and ready to go,” Suess said.
City officials previously discussed trying to work with a private business to buy the space so they had control over what would replace the post office. Increased parking, residential units, retail, and an outdoor public space are some of the options they discussed for occupying the space.
In recent years, the postal service has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce costs and address its financial challenges. As part of those efforts, the postal service believes it can reduce costs considerably by liquidating certain high-value properties and relocating operations to facilities that are better suited and the right size.
Members of the public may submit comments for 15 days following the public meeting.
Comments should be postmarked by May 1, 2012 and sent to:
Diana Alvarado, Facilities Planning and Real Estate , 1300 Evans Street, San Francisco, CA 94188-8200.