The United States Postal Service has announced a proposal to relocate retail post office operations currently residing at the historic Richmond Main Post Office, located at 1025 Nevin Avenue, to the McVittie DDU facility at 2100 Chanslor Avenue. USPS also intends to sell this historic and culturally significant Art Deco building.
The Richmond Main Post Office is essential to ensuring the economic health and historic legacy of Downtown, both as an institution and for the vital services that it provides to the public.
Richmond Main Street Initiative, the Office of Mayor Tom Butt, the Office of Congressman DeSaulnier, Richmond City Council, the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, and others are working together to prevent this relocation, closure, and sale.
Join us in fighting this decision and saving the Richmond Main Post Office!
October 17, 2017
We are sad to report that despite our community’s efforts to convince the USPS otherwise, the postal service has decided to move forward with the relocation, closure, and sale of our historic Downtown Post Office. Notice of this decision was made on August 10 via the posting of a letter adressed to Mayor Tom Butt to the front door of the post office.
Additionally, on August 21, USPS posted a notice stating that they are initiating the Section 106 process, which regulates the sale of historic buildings owned by the Federal government. As part of this process, a 30 day public comment period has been initiated and citizens may submit comments related to the adverse effects that this sale may have on this historic property. The notice also stated that a packet of materials related to this finding was available at the post office for review; upon receiving reports that the packet was not available to the purblic, Richmond Main Street contacted USPS to inquire. A PDF copy of this packet was provided; availability of a physical copy at the post office was not resolved.
Richmond Main Street submitted this letter, strongly communicating that the sale of the building will have a significant and fundamental adverse effect on its historic significance, as well as an adverse effect on our residents, workers, and business community.
Meanwhile, Mayor Tom Butt has reported on negotiations of sale between the City of Richmond and USPS (check out his e-forum from September 13 for details).
We remain in a limbo state, waiting to to hear from USPS. In the interim, Richmond Main Street staff and the Mayor’s office continue to engage with Congressman DeSaulnier’s office and others about next steps.
What Happens Next?
Richmond Main Street staff, in collaboration with the offices of our elected officials, will do their very best to continue to advocate on behalf of the Richmond community and provide updates as they become available.
Huge thanks to everyone who attended the meetings, wrote letters, signed the petition, shared this story, and resisted this proposal.
For more information about this situation, including copies of the notices, letters of support from local leaders, news articles, and arguments to save the Richmond Main Post Office, please explore this webpage.
In partnership & community,
Richmond Main Street Initiative
Alicia Gallo, (510) 236-4049, email@example.com
Timeline of Events
January 25: Notice of disposal action posted; removed after inquiries made by Mayor’s Office.
January 26: Upon being alerted by a constituent, Councilmember Martinez drafted an agenda item contesting the notice to sell the post office.
February 7: Richmond City Council considers and unanimously adopts Resolution No. 10-17, opposing the proposed closure of the Richmond Main Post Office. (Council Agenda, Minutes).
May 5: Potential Relocation of Post Office Notice of Public Meeting & Comment Period and Letter to Mayor Tom Butt posted.
May 16: Notice of Public Meeting published on USPS website.
May 31: USPS holds public meeting; 30-day public comment period initiated. Richmond community organizes letter writing, outreach, and online petition campaign.
June 15: Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council hosts Town Hall meeting, that is well attended by residents, business owners, and community leaders, as well as representatives for Mayor Tom Butt, Congressman DeSaulnier, and Supervisor Gioia. All speakers oppose proposed relocation.
June 30: USPS public comment period closes. Richmond Main Street and the Mayor’s Office facilitated collecting and mailing at least 250 letters and 113 online petition signatures.
August 10: Final Decision Regarding Richmond Main Post Office and letter from Tom Samra (USPS) addressed to Mayor Tom Butt, announcing the agency’s decision to move forward with the relocation, closure, and sale of Richmond Main Post Office, posted.
August 21: Involving the Public notice announcing initiation of Section 106 process and 30 day public comment period posted. Packet of materials related to finding sent to consulting parties, including Richmond Main Street. Availability of materials at post office, as stated on notice, unclear.
September 13: USPS sent a letter to Mayor Tom Butt, constituting the offer to sell the Richmond Main Post Office to City of Richmond. The offer includes: sale price of $2,020,000 (cash); City funding $25,000 escrow; City providing retail space of 1,576 net sqft for 50 years at zero rent, with City covering all costs for utilities, maintenance, and custodial services; City paying for any required remodeling to accomodate shared tenants; City is prohibited from reselling the property for a profit; acceptance of offer by October 16, 2017. City of Richmond enters negotitions with USPS.
Why the Richmond Main Post Office Matters
The Richmond Main Post Office, located at 1025 Nevin Avenue, is essential to ensure the economic health and historic legacy of Downtown, both as an institution and for the vital services that it provides to the public.
Any of the proposed changes to this post office’s operations or location would be detrimental to all residents and businesses, as well as the current revitalization efforts in Downtown.
Richmond is woefully underserved in many aspects. Many groups are working together to change this. A strong business community and access to robust, centrally located public services, like the Richmond Main Post Office, are necessary for these efforts. Closing the Richmond Main Post Office—the primary and most historically significant post office in the city—will add to this unfortunate trend.
Access to a retail post office Downtown is necessary for all community members for the purposes of accessing post office boxes, mail-box drop-off, passport applications, and other retail postal services.
The Richmond Main Post Office is centrally located to residents, visitors, and merchants, as well as many public transportation options. This post office is .4 miles from the Richmond Transit Station, hub for BART, Amtrak, AC Transit, R-Transit, and many shuttles. Sidewalks in the area are wide, with ADA compliant curbs. The Downtown district is home to over 60 businesses, including two major employers, Kaiser Permanente and Social Security Administration, which sit on either side of the Richmond Main Post Office.
As Ms. Doris Mason, president of Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, stated at the Public Hearing on May 31, the Richmond Main Post Office is used by residents from North, Central, and South Richmond. For many, this post office is the only one that is accessible for them.
The Richmond community has already dealt with the closure of the Station A Post Office at 200 Broadway. If the Richmond Main Post Office were to close, our community would be subjected to additional burdens. Residents would be forced to travel excessive distances in order to reach other post offices in the area, which are smaller, not easily accessible by all modes of transportation, and have minimal parking. In particular, closing this post office will cause a significant hardship to seniors and those with physical disabilities, individuals with limited access to the Internet, and people who rely on public transportation.
Although located just .9 miles away from the Richmond Main Post Office, the McVittie DDU facility (2100 Chanslor Avenue) is not an acceptable location for retail post office services. This facility is located in a residential neighborhood, is not pedestrian-friendly, is not accessible by any forms of public transportation, and sits at the intersection of two dead-end streets. The McVittie DDU facility is therefore not accessible to all members of the public, especially those with physical disabilities, who rely on public transportation, work hourly jobs with fixed schedules, or who must be able to perform retail post office services in a timely manner.
As disclosed at the Public Hearing held on May 31, no reports evaluating the environmental or traffic impact have been completed. Therefore, the relocation of retail post office operations to this area has not taken into full consideration the impacts that an increase in vehicular traffic will have on the environment, the municipal infrastructure, or the residents’ quality of life.
Future development plans for Downtown include an increase in housing (approx. 1000 units) and retail space (60k sqft) within the next 5 years. Richmond Main Street Initiative (a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing historic Downtown Richmond) is working diligently with a new developer to fill the BART retail space (10k sqft) on Macdonald Avenue with several new businesses, including a café and a business incubator/co-working space that will bring more businesses Downtown.
The City of Richmond recently released a Request for Qualifications and Proposals for opportunity sites in the Macdonald Avenue Corridor. This RFQ/P includes 5 properties in Downtown and outlines that “[d]evelopments, where appropriate, should feature a blend of mid and high-rise mixed-use development to galvanize the major activity center to serve the community and region. Office, retail, entertainment and residential uses are allowed.” These forthcoming infill and future development projects will be located within .5 miles of Richmond Main Post Office, and will bring more residents, businesses, and visitors Downtown.
The relocation of public services outside of city center areas is against development best practices and adopted policies of Associated Bay Area Governments, which are actively supporting high-density, transit-oriented development with a variety of private and public services that are centrally located.
“The Post Office provides a sense of place.”
~ Kate Sibley, Richmond resident.
Many community members, especially long-time residents, have very strong connections to the Richmond Main Post Office. Since 1938, it has operated as the main post office for the city. During WWII it is where all people of Japanese descent were required to register as ‘enemy aliens’ and it also served as a designated air raid shelter.
The building is a spectacular example of Art Deco architecture and is a rare example of a building that has retained both its original form and function. It serves as a landmark for residents and visitors. The relocation of retail operations, and the inevitable closure and sale of the building that would follow, raises serious historic preservation concerns. Downtown Richmond has already lost a large portion of its historic buildings; others have been abandoned or left vacant for many years, with owners who do have the financial means or desire to restore them. A vacant post office would be a setback for Downtown’s revitalization.
The local APWU chapter and all retired postal workers in attendance at the May 31 Public Hearing spoke very strongly against the relocation/closure of the post office, citing the historical significance of the building, the importance of the post office’s operations to the community, and the vast opportunities for revenue-generating uses of the office’s “excess” space. A thoughtful and sincere exploration of creative lease agreements or hybridization of services at the Richmond Main Post Office could help generate vital funds and solve the economic concerns cited by USPS.
The lack of transparent information about the evaluation and decision-making process around the proposal to relocate/close the Richmond Main Post Office is of great concern to the community. Other than citing the facility’s square footage, USPS representatives at the Public Hearing were not able to provide any detailed information about how the USPS determined that this post office is “in excess.” No data or sales analysis, exact determining factors, or specific details about the criteria used in the review and decision-making process was provided.
Elected officials, community leaders and groups, and community benefit organizations oppose the relocation of the Richmond Main Post Office. Read their statements below. Help us gather additional support by connecting us with other leaders in our community byemailing us.