City advances to next round in bid to buy post office

Palo Alto prepares to make second offer on historic building

Palo Alto's effort to buy the downtown post office from the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will advance to the next round after the city was selected to make a second bid for the historic Birge Clark-designed building, officials announced Monday.

The property at 380 Hamilton Ave., believed to be the first post office to be designed expressly for that function, has been a site of heavy speculation ever since the postal service announced its plan to sell it as part of a nationwide cost-cutting effort. City spokeswoman Claudia Keith said about 50 people toured the site before the bidding period, though it's unknown how many actually made offers.

The City Council has held numerous closed sessions in the past few months to discuss the purchase of the 1932 building, which they hope to preserve as a public facility. One idea currently on the table is to turn it into a development center, which would allow the city to stop leasing space for that purpose across the street from City Hall.

The anticipated deadline to submit the second offer is Dec. 2.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Why? The City has yet to demonstrate a need to own this building. If the City owns it, there will be both costs associated with its upkeep, and it will not be added to the tax rolls.

It's way past time that the City stop trying to be all things to all people--and live within its means.

This is another bad idea--like taking on the Airport.

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Posted by Faux historic
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I am not sure misunderstand this. Why a a second bid? What happened to the first bid? How much was bid? How does the city plan to pay for this building? I understand that this building is " historic" and is the Spanish colonial style, plus it was designed by Bire Clark ( that will be enough for sme people start swooning), but does the city need it?

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Posted by It's not faux
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

No, we don't need it but our City Manager likes to expand his influence. He can move some city offices into it.
And a greedy developer is competing for the building. No surprise there.

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Posted by Cheapskate
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 28, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The City has to answer the following questions:
How? Where is the money coming from?
Do we really need this?

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Will the new occupant continue to allow the Saturday farmers market to use the parking lot? I believe the cost for renting space helps support Avenidas. Would hate to see this go away.

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Is this more important than using the money for a new police building that the city council has been say is a "high priority" for the past 10 years?

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Posted by wondering
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2013 at 11:41 am

Can the old PO be used for a new Police Bldg? If so, this is an excellent idea.

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Posted by PA Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I would love to see this space used as a teen center. Let's give PA kids a place to hang out and have some fun.

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Posted by PA_guy
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Certainly one good reason to buy the post office is so that you no longer have to pay $530,000 per year (and increasing at 3% per year) for leasing the space where the development center is currently. Building space does not come up very often in downtown Palo Alto. And a city owning the buildings that it needs to function is a good thing in the long run.

Yes, you do need to pay for the upkeep. But you are no longer at the whim of the landlord for what you have to pay in lease payments. Just curious, those of you complaining, do you rent or own where you live?

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm

why does the development center have to be downtown? why can't it be at Cubberley, Mitchell Park, or some other city owned facility?

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Marie is a registered user.

It would certainly be more convenient to city residents who need to get permits to move the development center somewhere where there is more parking. Maybe they can build a police station and development center together in a less congested area. Sadly, sooner or later, Cubberley will be needed for a 3rd high school. Palo Alto's overall population is rising rapidly. This is not a matter of just changing demographics. I also support buying the post office and moving city services in rented space to the post office.

If Palo Alto does buy it, I predict the council will propose a new building in the parking lot.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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