US Postal Service considers closing the Northfield Post Office

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Nfld Patch: Downtown Northfield Post Office Could Close

Peter Nowacki, a spokesperson for the United States Post Office, said Monday that the Northfield branch is one of 16,000 sites nationwide being considered for closure.

Nfld News: Downtown post office on the chopping block

While the closing, if it does occur, would likely impact the traffic in the city’s historic business district, the reduction would be temporary, said the city’s economic development director, Jody Gunderson. “I don’t see it staying empty long,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal building. I don’t think it would be very difficult to figure out a reuse for it.”

It seems like a perfect location for a local Northfield church. But maybe there are better reuses for the building?

Update 4/6: I’ve added a recent photo of the exterior and 3 other photos of the interior. I’ve also removed the “Churches to compete for space?” from the blog post title.

186 thoughts on “US Postal Service considers closing the Northfield Post Office”

  1. Today’s Strib: Northfield bids to keep post office downtown

    District Manager Anthony Williams said he extended the city’s 60-day response period past the June 5 deadline to give city officials time to make their proposal. Would he sell to the city?

    “It depends on what the circumstances are,” said Williams, whose district covers most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. He said 29 of the district’s 850 post offices are to be closed this year, and Northfield, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Cottage Grove and five others will consolidate services with other stations.

    Williams said last week that the government still plans to sell the Northfield station “unless the city provided something else that would create an alternative that would be best.” He said he expects to respond soon to the city’s offer.

  2. Why would the city buy it and then sell it to a developer (waiting in the wings?). Does the City intend to sell it at a higher price, or at a loss? Why be a middleman… middlecity? Shouldn’t the developer be the one buying it?

    1. Good question, Carol… you may know that the City bought their building from the Key (NF Union of Youth) only to put out a RFP and then will now be selling it to one of the applicants/developers. They even had two interested parties waiting in the wings; the restaurants on either side of the property; those then were the two applicants.

      ‘They’ must enjoy being the middleman! Unfortunately that’s a good way for the seller, the Key, to receive less for their building than if they would have had the two already interested parties bidding against each other.

      Why, indeed?

      1. I should have made something more clear in my comment above: I am totally in favor of the City remaining in control of the downtown Post Office Building. I consider the building to be essential to the character of Bridge Square.

        If the City would get control of the PO building and then sell it to a ‘developer’, I would be very disgruntled. If the USPS refuses to see the importance of these small town central POs, then it’s up to the City to retain it for some civic use.

        So if the City’s dollar sale and free lease-back offer doesn’t ‘work’, then some other way has to be found to keep the building in the City’s control.

        A lot of the process confusion here arises from the lack of clear information from the USPS.

        So there’s sales where the city shouldn’t become the middleman and other times when there is a strong need to be in control of the property.

  3. The report in today’s Nfld News outlines Mayor Rossing’s proposal for the city’s use of the property, which does not seem to include selling it to a developer:

    A letter from Mayor Mary Rossing this week asks postal officials to approve a deal to sell the historic 1936 post office to the city for $1. In exchange, the city would lease at least 2,000 square feet of the building’s first floor to the post office rent free for three years.

    “This proposal will eliminate the $75,000 annual cost of operating the downtown facility,” said Rossing in her letter, “while maintaining the $800,000 annual revenue stream it generates.”
    Rossing also argues that the post office is not only a valuable anchor for the downtown, but a principal draw for 260 nearby businesses.

    “Now,” said Covey, “we’re just waiting to hear back.”

    http://northfieldnews.com/content/purchase-offer-post-office-it's-mail

  4. KYMN said on local news today Thursday that there was another letter from Williams about closing the downtown PO. There was to be a meeting of the Save Our Post Office committee today at noon. I was unable to reach members of NDDC for details, so I went home. Anyone know more?

  5. So what’s Plan B for the downtown Post Office building, once the Annex gets expanded?

    And what about the USPS plan to open more Village Post Offices?

    For communities currently without a postal retail office and for communities affected by these retail optimization efforts, the Postal Service introduced the Village Post Office as a potential replacement option. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.

  6. Griff,

    Williams says. “It is not in out best interest to consider an offer of $1.00 for a building that has a market value that far exceeds that amount.” Short and insulting, I thought.

    Post Office letter Williams 892011.pdf 631.19 KB

    Our former postmaster told us April 5 that the building was previously valued at half a million, but in this economy one might expect to pay half that. We could not afford $200-250,000 for this historic treasure? KYMN said Thursday that the Council had committed $3,000 (?) previously for attorney fees on this matter. Did Atty Chris Hood come up with the plan that was so soundly refused?

  7. Was $1 the only offer the city was willing to make?

    I hope we can do better than that when it comes to creating a Plan B.

      1. Phil, I’d even consider paying as much as $3.47 to buy the old USPS building on the square.

  8. The USPS ‘math’ makes no senses… For what the city offered them in the Mayor’s letter, they could stay in their current building, rent free, for three years (savings of 225K) and also saving the estimated 300-400K of building a retail addition to the South Hwy 3 facility.
    I would imagine the city would also negotiated a five year deal with them.

    In 3-5 years, who knows where the USPS will be; they don’t appear to be very adept at money management…

  9. So, what’s going on now? Is the committee writing another letter to the USPS pointing out that the rent free offer would allow them to NOT spend the $300-400K on a retail addition to the annex, while they (USPS) tries to sort out its operational problems, together with the finances of its pension plan?

    Is there any info to the concerned public ? will the Mayor/Committee contain to negotiate?

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