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Downtown post office will have short move to new location

Posted May 8th, 2014

  • Post Offices new location

By Andrew Dowd

Original article from the Leader Telegram can be found here.

 

The U.S. Postal Service has selected this vacant storefront in the Phoenix Park area as the future site of downtown Eau Claire's post office. The building briefly housed Charly's Market, 225 E. Madison St.
Photo by Steve Kinderman

Eau Claire's downtown post office will move less than two blocks later this year with the U.S. Postal Service's selection of an empty Phoenix Park area storefront.

Though the Postal Service still was finalizing lease details, it informed the city Monday afternoon that it plans to move Eau Claire's main post office into a 7,262-square-foot retail space on the 200 block of E. Madison St.

"We believe this location will provide the community with an upgraded, modern facility offering a full line of postal products and services," Pete Nowacki, a Postal Service spokesman, stated in an email to the Leader-Telegram.

The empty storefront used to house Charly's Market, 225 E. Madison St., a neighborhood grocery store that was open from May 2012 to January 2013. The post office plans to lease the 4,200 square feet used by the grocer and an adjoining empty space.

"It goes into a facility that's already a shell so they can move quicker within the time frame before their lease is up," said Mike Schatz, Eau Claire's economic development administrator.

A moving date has not yet been set, but the Postal Service's lease on the current post office, 126 N. Barstow St., ends on Sept. 30. The Postal Service got a two-year lease extension in 2012, but Schatz said additional extensions have not been requested or offered.

The city has one month to voice potential objections to the proposed moving site, but Schatz doubts that will happen, as city leaders sought to keep the post office in the downtown area.

"I'm not expecting us to object," he said.

In addition to its location within sight of the old post office, Schatz said the new site has a large parking lot shared by multiple Phoenix Park area businesses.

The Postal Service began looking in early 2012 for a new site for Eau Claire's main post office, which is much larger than needed. A frontrunner in that search had been space in a building that would be constructed at the former Burger King lot at the corner of North Barstow and East Madison streets, but a deal could not be reached.

A letter sent in September notified the city that the Postal Service reopened sites for consideration. Several vacant retail spaces on Clairemont Avenue and other parts of Eau Claire were on that list, but the East Madison Street location was the lone downtown site.

As for the old post office, the city's Redevelopment Authority bought the 27,000-square-foot building last year. Eau Claire plans to redevelop the site into a parking ramp plus buildings for businesses and apartments.

The Postal Service has leased the building since it opened in 1962, but it no longer needs such a large building for a downtown Eau Claire post office.