The United States Post Service (USPS) is considering all serious offers for the historic Bronx General Post Office building, which has been part of the community since 1937.
USPS spokesperson for New York City and Long Island, Connie Chirichello, said the decision to sell the building, which boasts 20-foot-high ceilings, began with a study two and a half years ago.
“We are moving forward with the sale,” Chirichello said. “We’re entertaining all potential offers.”
Locals and officials were in disbelief after the building was posted on the USPS website for sale. Although, according to Chirichello, the agency notified local authorities in March, and held a series of public meetings. An online posting for the 170,000 square-foot building on East 149th Street and the Grand Concourse allowed bidders to submit offers by Jan. 15, 2014.
After the news broke of the building going on sale, workers picketed outside the building in early January in protest, according to the New York Daily News. Some local residents and officials have also disapproved of the decision.
“The sale of this magnificent structure cannot be done behind closed doors,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in an email. Naming it the gateway to The Bronx, Diaz said that the redevelopment of the building must contribute positively to the area.
“We will not allow this site to simply be sold to the highest bidder without any consideration for the future of the neighborhood and the borough as a whole,” he said.
“It’s not just a post office, it’s part of my life,” said local resident Ella Michael, 68, according to the New York Times.
The new owner of the office will need to accommodate the landmarked building lobby and first floor interior. The Landmarks Preservation Commission in December 2013 landmarked the building’s 13 Depression-era murals, globe lighting fixtures, ceiling and floor surfaces, columns and more.
Chirichello said that USPS will make sure that the murals are protected.
“The postal services is very cognizant of its fine art murals,” she said.
No date has been set for the closure of the office, and no serious buyer has been announced.