Citing critical loss of revenue, the U.S. Postal Service is considering moving its downtown branch to Alma Street at the corner of Addison Avenue, according to a May 11 letter to Mayor Karen Holman.
The letter comes in advance of next week's public meeting, sponsored by the USPS, regarding a move of services from the historic Hamilton Avenue Post Office, which the postal service is considering selling.
The public meeting will be held May 28 at 11 a.m. at 380 Hamilton Ave.
In his letter to Holman, Dean Cameron, USPS real estate specialist, said that postal officials are looking at two potential locations: the basement of the current downtown building and 999 Alma St., the location of the Anthropologie clothing store.
"If the Postal Service decides to move forward with its relocation, it anticipates offering the post office property for sale after completing a separate process to take into account the effects, if any, of the sale on historic properties," Cameron wrote.
The 1932 building was designed by local architect Birge Clark and features many characteristics of the Colonial Revival style, including arcade frontage, a tiled roof and a stucco exterior. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that any attempt to alter it would have to undergo a strenuous historic-review process.
Cameron in his letter offered to discuss the project with the city.
Postal officials will discuss the size, potential location and services that would be offered at the new facility at next Thursday's meeting. The public and city officials will have 30 days to send in written appeals and comments regarding the tentative decision to relocate.
If the Postal Service finds another location not discussed at the public meeting, it will make an additional community presentation, Cameron said.
The Palo Alto City Council authorized City Manager James Keene to make a bid for the downtown building, which has about 20,000-square feet of usable floor space, in May 2013. Ideas about which city departments and services could be located there have been floated in the past year. USPS officials have said they need only about 3,500 square feet of space for the post office's operation, and city officials have proposed leasing some of the building space back to the federal agency.
A May 18 letter from Keene to Cameron reiterated the city's interest.
"This letter is to let you know that given the importance of the historic post office building and its role in the fabric of Palo Alto's downtown, the city continues to be very interested in acquiring the 380 Hamilton Avenue property. The City Council wants to be sure that when USPS is ready to receive an updated offer, the city will be notified at the earliest possible date," he wrote.
Holman and Keene plan to attend a briefing meeting offered by Cameron, according to the city.