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downtown post office

Jedidiah –

This afternoon, I dropped off a package at about 3:00, and the post office worker leaned over and told me that federal officials were hosting a town hall meeting at 4:00. I hadn’t heard about the meeting, and she said that neither had she. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a postal worker step out of character, and it was like looking behind the light blue curtain for a moment.

I’m opening a piece of mail now that was in my PO Box sometime over the week or so, including a letter and a survey. The letter headline says “This letter provides notice that the U.S. Postal Service is conducting a discontinuance feasibility study of facility operations at the Century Station into the Capitol Station.” The letter asks for survey response “no later than 9/11/2011,” and sure enough, the last paragraph says, “A community meeting will be held to explain the study findings and to address community concerns,” with today’s date.

When I arrived, characteristically 10 minutes late, a group of maybe 8 had circled near the drop boxes in the lobby, a clipboard was circling, and two men were asking for and answering questions. Someone was taking notes, and a woman with an id badge was managing the clipboard. The group grew to about a dozen by the time I left at 4:30.

The comments were great, and pretty consistent. Local professionals talked about having held their PO boxes for decades, talked about convenience of the location, talked a lot about the architecture and the reconstruction history of the building. The attendees and the representatives both mentioned Mayor Meeker and his open support for the facility. One attendee had talked to the mayor before the meeting, but had been told that the Mayor wasn’t aware of the meeting and couldn’t get there in time. There were a lot of suggestions about better marketing, especially around the value of the PO boxes.

Actually, I was interested to hear that aside from pedestrian convenience, the biggest complaint about potentially having to use the Post Office on New Bern was about the difference in architecture. One attendee thought the New Bern station looked like it should be bulldozed. This was the most extreme feedback I heard in the meeting.

“Starbucks” came up several times. One official commented that the USPS is considering having Starbucks in post office buildings. He said that they’re reviewing a lot of options to repair the business model. This seemed like the start to a practical and relevant conversation about reducing the useful area of the post office within this facility and subleasing unused areas to retail or other tenants.

I asked why the New Bern station was preferred to the Downtown station, and the direct answer was that the station on New Bern is owned and the Downtown station is leased.

It was a quiet meeting, a little tense because we didn’t know what the implications were, but it was appropriately civil.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
(919) 889 6823 |

From: [] On Behalf Of Jedidiah Gant
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 7:12 PM
To: Andrew Osterlund
Subject: Re: downtown post office

Damn, just getting this. What did you find out?

Also, any word on sharing those renderings for Faces?

Jedidiah Gant

Downtown Editor

On Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 4:06 PM, Andrew Osterlund <andy> wrote:

Jedidiah – FYI, the post office lady told me that there’s a Town Meeting about the Post Office closing today at 4pm, that no one was told about. I’m headed there now.

Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
19 W Hargett Street, Suite 700-A | Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 889 6823 | | TWITTER: aoarch

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