Tonight four representatives of the U.S. Postal Service held the mandatory meeting, per the Code of Federal Regulations, but it was way more interesting than that sounds. The Postal Services' business peaked in 2006 and has "fallen off a cliff since then" resulting in the main, downtown Post Office at 220 Park being viewed as a golden egg that is ready for sale. The building is three times larger than the PO thinks it needs downtown and we are on the short list of "high value" real estate holdings to be liquidated along with Menlo Park, Palo Alto, La Jolla, Venice, etc. But during the meeting the four reps, lead by Diana Alvarado from Facilities, were adamant that our building was historic!
Here are four direct quotes from them at the meeting:
"we recognize that it's a historic building"
"it cannot be destroyed"
"we will treat it as historic"
"we're not looking to have it torn down"
But there were mixed signals. Another quote was "nothing is carved in stone" and "a suitable buyer is one who has the money". So the essence of the exercise is to have the USPS Historical Consultant examine the property and make recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer who may then recommend that covenants be added to the title on the property to preserve some or all of it post-sale. Of course, that could screw up some plans to screw up downtown.
So we are six to nine months from any kind of formal action, but the realtors and potential buyers were there listening and checking their wallets. The USPS has a nationwide contract with CBRE for this kind of deal and a Foster City broker named Hernan Santos was pointed out in the crowd as the contact for buyers. Here he is talking with Ms. Alvarado of the USPS after the meeting.