USPS seeks new site for La Jolla letter carriers, downplays importance of audit requested by Congress

For more than two-and-a-half years, the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force has been working to assure the U.S. Postal Service does not sell the historic post office building at 1140 Wall St.

La Jolla’s postmaster has been viewing rental properties in and around the Village in which to relocate United States Postal Service (USPS) services from its 720 Silver St. facility (off Draper Avenue) — including the complex at the corner of Silverado Street and Fay Avenue where La Jolla Sports Club is located, sources closed to La Jolla Light report. The USPS’s broker at CBRE commercial real estate is negotiating “terms and availability” on a space, USPS spokesperson Diana Alvarado said.

The USPS has rented the Silver Street facility since 1975 to sort mail for 40 letter carrier routes. The USPS’s lease there expires in spring 2015. The building is in escrow and sources say the USPS will not likely be able to remain there — particularly if its new owner decides to redevelop the property.

Meanwhile, there has been little movement on USPS’s long-planned sale of La Jolla’s historic post office at 1140 Wall St. (and relocation of its retail services), which it announced in January 2012. The USPS must first locate several suitable spaces within a one-mile radius of the Village to relocate retail services, after which the Code of Federal Regulations requires that a 30-day public notice be posted identifying which properties are under consideration. (It must then post another 30-day notice informing the public of which property was chosen).

Although community members aligned with the La Jolla Historical Society (organized as the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force) were able to delay the sale from progressing in 2012 and 2013, more recently the delay involved a request by Congress that the USPS halt sales of its historic properties until the results of audits from two agencies were released.

Congressman José E. Serrano

Congressman José E. Serrano

The audit reports, out in April, analyze how the USPS has handled the sale and disposal of its historic properties during the past several years. The reports were produced largely at the request of Congressmember José Serrano (D-South Bronx, New York City), whose district includes the 1935 Bronx General Post Office, which the USPS also intends to sell.

Some are characterizing the USPS’s response to one of those reports, released April 17 by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), as a proverbial “Bronx cheer.”

The ACHP report, requested in an appropriations bill, included several recommendations to improve the USPS’s sales and preservation process — chief among them that the USPS halt all sales of its historic properties until the Postal Service implements the ACHP report’s recommendations.

In a press release, Serrano said the report “demonstrates that huge problems exist in (the USPS’s) policies and procedures.

“I believe that their recommendations will remedy many of these problems,” Serrano added. “The USPS is raffling off our national heritage in the form of priceless historic properties and causing real damage to the communities they serve by not allowing the public to control the outcome of a sale of an asset that ultimately belongs to them.”

Click Here for OIG Report:
Preservation and Disposal of Historic Properties

Read More: USPS seeks new site for La Jolla letter carriers, downplays importance of audit requested by Congress | La Jolla Light.

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