USPS puts Northfield Post Office building on sale for $845,000. Now what?

Northfield US Post Office building for sale

The government’s listing for the Northfield Post Office building reads:

14 Bridge Square, Northfield, Minnesota represents a unique opportunity to purchase a unique and beautiful former US Postal Service facility. The building is a 9,708 SF and is located on 0.53 acres. This architecturally distinct building was built in 1936 and sits prominently in the historic center of Northfield. The property includes 15 surface stalls in the off-street parking lot.

The realtor is Chris Gliedman, CBRE, based in Mpls.

The Northfield Roundtable held two planning sessions last week, focused on Bridge Square.  The notes from that day are not yet available but see the Feb. 4 Nfld News: Northfield Roundtable focuses on Bridge Square. According to the article, these were some ideas generated at Friday’s session that were Post Office-related:

The downtown post office could be turned into a Northfield Business Center, serving as an incubator and housing the Chamber, NDDC and NEC, along with small shops.

By tying Bridge Square with the service areas and alleys surrounding the post office building and the buildings facing Division Street, all properties on the block could be on the river.

Should the Downtown Streetscape Taskforce buy it, since a year ago, the City Council rejected its recommendation to purchase the rental property at 304 Washington St. for a parking lot at a cost of $760,000?

2 thoughts on “USPS puts Northfield Post Office building on sale for $845,000. Now what?”

  1. Nfld Patch: Bridge Square Post Office Up for Sale

    Whether the USPS can move forward with a sale at this time is in doubt, however. In an email to Patch on Sunday, Northfield City Councilor Suzie Nakasian—who has been active in efforts to save the downtown post office—says the USPS could be “out of compliance” with federal historic preservation guidelines until it further discusses a possible sale.

    “Those regulations, we are told, require the USPS to meet with local stakeholders including the [City of Northfield] to address potential negative adverse effects of the transfer of the property out of federal hand,” she says in the email. “Both the building itself and the historic district in which it is located have historic designation that fall under federal protection, so we still hope that USPS will comply with those [regulations] and agree to meet with the City and find a way to mitigate the impact of their intended sale of on the the economic vitality and historic character of our downtown.”

    City leaders learned about the potential non-compliance from the State Historic Preservation Office, which Nakasian says “has the authority for pursuing compliance with federal historic preservation guidelines.”

    Even before city leaders learned that the post office was put on the market, a discussion about the Bridge Square post office’s future already had been scheduled for Tuesday’s City Council work session.

  2. Maybe others do not see this to be as important as I do, but IMO, it is imperative for the City, or a private entity working with the City, to successfully retain the Post Office under NF control.

    When the USPS did not respond favorably to the City’s $1/rent-back-free offer, I think it was unwise to get out of the negotiation mode, regardless of the notion that the sale was on hold. One must remain in negotiation to hope to have any control.

    The Nat’l Trust for Historic Preservation lawyers have done a lot of work in MN in the last 10 years (NF citizen’s suit against the City for allowing zoning to accommodate Target, the Stillwater lift bridge replacement, to name just two ) and certainly have extensive knowledge of MN law.
    The MN Environmental Rights Act protects historic buildings as part of that legislation, and the NTHP wrote an amicus brief which accompanied the ‘Target’ lawsuit all the way to the MN Supreme Court; they have been involved in similar efforts re: the Stillwater bridge.

    The City needs to immediately engage with the NTHP, and re-open negotiations with the USPS , with the realization that since it’s all about the USPS’s failing finances, they must be prepared to offer an amount of money considered to be reasonable.

    Victor told me that he had suggested at the Roundtable meeting that the EDA reserve funds be used as the basis for funding the purchase of the PO. That is a POV that is hard to argue against. The dollars there (800K-1M ?) could not be put to better use, and this is the ‘rainy day’ that they are sitting there to guard against.

    Given the memos from national and state historic preservation bodies in support of the city having the opportunity for a first position to purchase, the Council will, I hope, be able to pull itself together to take immediate action. They were able to do that for the redesign of Jefferson Road a year ago, they need to show they can do it again.

    I wish the Council a full and positive discussion on Tuesday night, which leads them to a strong, even aggressive, commitment to preserve the control of this building which is so important to the environment of Bridge Square, which is in turn the core of the Community.

    This is a test of their ability to work together and act for the good of the entire community.

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