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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6280447.html

The U.S. Postal Service is selling the downtown post office after 47 years of sorting and delivering mail from the 16-acre operation.

Whoever buys the property at 401 Franklin must build a replacement processing facility for the postal service, as well as provide a retail location near the existing site where consumers can mail packages and buy stamps.

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There was a proposal a few years back that when the post office sold the property it should be purchased by the city for use as fair grounds. This would avoid fiascoes as when the International Festival moved to the Reliant parking lot, or even the problems having to close blocks of streets for various festivals.

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The Buffalo Bayou Partnership folks have been eyeing the post office lot for years:

Festival Place

Framing Downtown as its backdrop, a live-oak shaded amphitheater on the Bayou's north bank will provide a new outdoor venue for the Theater District and reinforce Sesquicentennial Park. A new mixed-use cultural and performance center will be constructed on the existing Post Office site. Expanding the Theater District across the Bayou will create a cohesive arts and cultural destination, an important step in raising Houston's tourist profile and convention appeal.

I'm guessing that's the fairground concept you heard, Subdude. As depicted on their PDF it would also include that creepy lot and building on the other side of the tracks at the dead-end of Girard Street.

Edited by arisegundo
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http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6280447.html

The U.S. Postal Service is selling the downtown post office after 47 years of sorting and delivering mail from the 16-acre operation.

Whoever buys the property at 401 Franklin must build a replacement processing facility for the postal service, as well as provide a retail location near the existing site where consumers can mail packages and buy stamps.

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Eureka! For once we agree on something.

The weird part is they are selling in a down economy instead of an up. They should have sold this 2 years ago when they could have surely gotten a lot more money.

True, although they have been making noises about moving to a new location for years now. They could find something cheaper and more convenient to transportation.

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  • 1 month later...

And any move to tear down the building could rattle preservationists who say Houston has lost too many of its historical or architecturally significant buildings.

Stephen Fox, a Houston architectural historian and fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas, called the downtown post office a

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This is a historic post office building worth preserving:

old_post_office.jpg

This isn't:

downtown-post-office.jpg

One factor to consider is how our preferences for what is considered an attractive building change with time and styles.

My experience indicates that we like/tolerate architectural styles for the first 20-25 years; we dislike/despise the styles that are 30-50 years old; but we begin to appreciate those styles again after around 50 years.

The pattern has played out many times over: destruction of Victorian structures in the 50's & 60's; destruction of art deco buildings in the 60's and 70's; and the current lack of appreciation for this 1960's Houston Post Office (nothing spectacular, but certainly a period piece).

While I do not necessarily propose the protection of this particular building, I do honestly believe that is has a style that we will begin to appreciate much more in the next 10-15 years.

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One factor to consider is how our preferences for what is considered an attractive building change with time and styles.

My experience indicates that we like/tolerate architectural styles for the first 20-25 years; we dislike/despise the styles that are 30-50 years old; but we begin to appreciate those styles again after around 50 years.

The pattern has played out many times over: destruction of Victorian structures in the 50's & 60's; destruction of art deco buildings in the 60's and 70's; and the current lack of appreciation for this 1960's Houston Post Office (nothing spectacular, but certainly a period piece).

While I do not necessarily propose the protection of this particular building, I do honestly believe that is has a style that we will begin to appreciate much more in the next 10-15 years.

Quite right. I've argued myself for instance that the current style of the George R Brown is worth preserving because it is dated enough to be a genuine period piece. And normally I love architecture from the era in which the post office was built. The problem is to me this just doesn't seem to be a particularly good example of mid-century modern. Or am I missing something? The building originally had a large USPO logo plastered on the front; oddly enough that seemed to much improve the look, probably by giving some focus to an otherwise bland and repetitive facade.

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  • 3 months later...

I apologize in advance if this topic already exists. I did a search and did not find one, so here goes.

There has been talk lately about the Post Office cutting costs and closing stations. What I wonder about is the downtown Houston Post Office. That thing is sitting on several acres of prime, expensive real estate. I bet there are a few developers who would like to get a hold of that property. It must cost the PO plenty to get mail into and out of that facility, given the downtown traffic.

Why not move the damn thing and sell the property I bet they could move the thing to someplace cheaper and with better access. Upgrade the technology to FedEx, UPS standards.

Am i nuts?

Edited by gto250us
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The Post Office is already for sale. The buyer has to build them a new post office somewhere else and then also buy the land for a pretty penny, so there have been no takers yet. There's a thread around here somewhere...

Edited by kylejack
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The Post Office is already for sale. The buyer has to build them a new post office somewhere else and then also buy the land for a pretty penny, so there have been no takers yet. There's a thread around here somewhere...

I cannot see anyone wanting to do this sort of thing in our current economic environment.

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Quite frankly, the Govt. should let loose of the USPS and make it compete with FedEx, et al. As far as I am concerned over 90% of what the USPS brings to my door is crap. I suspect that an overwhelming majority of the mail that is delivered everyday is crap that people do not want. Eliminate all of that and the need for the USPS would deminish drastically, but no, they want the junk mail just so they can collect the fees and have something for the carriers to do.

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The USPS is slowly dwindling away...maybe they could revamp efforts in the larger package realm, though. I know they have always provided those services, but that's the last thing left in mail these days.

One major problem with winding down the USPS is that they have a huge workforce on the government tit and they are in every single community in the nation. That will be real hard to fold up.

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One major problem with winding down the USPS is that they have a huge workforce on the government tit and they are in every single community in the nation. That will be real hard to fold up.

I really don't think USPS can survive without the government. Heck, if they spin USPS off, they might as well spin off NASA and Amtrak and everything else. If USPS is spun off, it will collapse.

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One major problem with winding down the USPS is that they have a huge workforce on the government tit and they are in every single community in the nation. That will be real hard to fold up.

Additionally, not every single person has access to email. There are rural communities out there in which, aside from TV and phone, is only able to get their bills via USPS.

The way things stand, this could be an opportunity for the for postal system to downsize.

Not only would they get rid of huge buildings on expensive land, but they can also build a smaller building that would require a smaller work force.

I would not doubt that in the future, they will cut back on the their hiring. The current employees would eventually be transferred or retired and their jobs not be filled.

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The Post Office has already started downsizing big time.

Being a sometimes ebay seller, I sometimes go to the post office. Both the Lawndale and Broadway stations have lost clerks. Guy at Broadway said several of them took the 'buyout'. So now, both those stations are even slower than they used to be. Oh, joy.

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  • 2 months later...
JLL’s Dan Foster and Ed Prejean are listing the 517k SF USPS General Mail Facility at 401 Franklin St. for sale. The downtown property was built in 1962 on more than 16 acres and is being marketed for mixed-use development. The property was put up for sale in 2009 with the requirement that the buyer provide anotherprocessing, distribution, and admin facility in Houston as well as another retail and post office box location near the current site. It didn’t receive any qualified responses then (what, you expected overnight delivery?), but hopes this time will be different. USPS is considering combining operations with a north Houston plant.

And... back on the market...

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The Post Office has already started downsizing big time.

Being a sometimes ebay seller, I sometimes go to the post office. Both the Lawndale and Broadway stations have lost clerks. Guy at Broadway said several of them took the 'buyout'. So now, both those stations are even slower than they used to be. Oh, joy.

They also decided not to renew their contract for stamp machines. I send out hardly anything using stamps, so a couple weeks ago, when I did have to get a stamp--one stamp--I waited in line for ten minutes for it.

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Pitching this idea to see what opinions it will generate ...here goes.

What if Metro were to build their grand lil Intermodal Station on the Post Office site? Give the sites location, this might kick-start the commuter and light rail service to Katy and Cypress via the railroad tracks near Washington which end at the Post Office site. Amtrak is next door and they could probably be convinced into joining as well. And the Southeast Brown line could be extended from its end at Capitol & Louisiana to turn and head due north on Bagby to the Intermodal Station. And since the site is sandwiched in between two HOV ramps on either side, P&R Express busses headed North and West of the city could easily make a stop here as well. Add Greyhound and local bus service, as well as area cabs parked curb-side and this could be a serviceable Intermodal Station for the city ....located DOWNTOWN.

Best of all, if the Post Office still wants a new facility, they could build it on the site of Hardy Yards ...land swap with Metro.

Thoughts?

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Pitching this idea to see what opinions it will generate ...here goes.

What if Metro were to build their grand lil Intermodal Station on the Post Office site? Give the sites location, this might kick-start the commuter and light rail service to Katy and Cypress via the railroad tracks near Washington which end at the Post Office site. Amtrak is next door and they could probably be convinced into joining as well. And the Southeast Brown line could be extended from its end at Capitol & Louisiana to turn and head due north on Bagby to the Intermodal Station. And since the site is sandwiched in between two HOV ramps on either side, P&R Express busses headed North and West of the city could easily make a stop here as well. Add Greyhound and local bus service, as well as area cabs parked curb-side and this could be a serviceable Intermodal Station for the city ....located DOWNTOWN.

Best of all, if the Post Office still wants a new facility, they could build it on the site of Hardy Yards ...land swap with Metro.

Thoughts?

Seems to make a lot of sense. It would also be a good airport shuttle collector location.

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  • 1 month later...

The Downtown PO was in the news yesterday on KUHF. KUHF Story

Basically it says that they want to close the place and consolidate with the North Houston facility. It all depends on getting the place sold at a good price.

I bet that there are some folks who would love to develop that area.

There was a public meeting at Rice last night. Anyone out there attend?

Edited by gto250us
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  • 2 months later...

The future of the downtown post office — at least whether it will be sold - could be decided this week.

The U.S. Postal Service is supposed to determine if it wants to consolidate the downtown operations to a facility in north Houston. If the answer is yes, the property will go on the market, according to spokeswoman Dionne Montague.

The 516,978-square-foot operation processes all incoming and outgoing mail for Houston. The north Houston facility on Aldine Bender would be expanded if the consolidation were to take place.

The decision has been a long time coming. The downtown property at 401 Franklin went up for sale in early 2009 with the condition being that whoever bought the property would have to replace it elsewhere.

No qualified bidders came forward.

Then in April of this year, the Postal Service said it would study the option of consolidation and solicited a request for qualifications so those interested in the property could show they had the financial wherewithal to purchase it.

The sale would clear the way for a large-scale redevelopment of the site, which comprises 16 acres.

In recent years, the property has been envisioned as a public park, outdoor amphitheater or a mixed-use development project with housing, a hotel and entertainment venues.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/sarnoff/7228347.html

Although I doubt the post office could somehow be in the plans of the Coventry announcement tomorrow, it's a funny coincidence how they both plan announcements this week and their possible plans include North Houston.

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  • 2 years later...

forgive my ignorance but it seems like i recall people talking in the past about a potential redevelopment of the Post Office site? is there a thread on this? i tried searching but couldnt find anything on it. are there plans for the post office site to be redeveloped? if so what are the plans?

i came across this site somehow and thought it was kind of interesting. i never knew the Post Office site sits on top of what used to be Central Station and Hotel for the rail road and the city of Houston back in the day. it makes me wonder if the site could be redeveloped into an Intermodal Terminal type site with mixed use Transit Oriended Development.

http://www.epperts.com/lfa/BB67.html

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actually nevermind. i wish i could delete the post. lol, i was just storming up ideas after i read that link without really giving to consideration where the post office site is. although it is on the rail line that runs out along hempstead hwy/290 which could make for a good high speed rail link toward Austin/SA to complete the texas triangle high speed rail network, its not really near any of the light rail lines and is kind of isolated in the north west corner of downtown, across the bayou. it would make for a great site for a large mixed use development though. if only it had a street car system that linked it up with the light rail system and rest of downtown.
after pondering the idea, i think the Hardy Rail Yards are still the best location for the Intermodal Terminal/grand central station/mixed use development.. i was imagining bringing back the grand central station in Houston with a hotel/residential tower and TODs around it. i just didnt realize the rail lines at the post office site dont connect with the lines that run north down the Hardy Toll Road which would make most sense for the Houston-Dallas high speed rail line.

Edited by cloud713
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What is the old awning looking thing along one of the tracks just north of the post office site, running under 45? Surely it wasn't an old passenger terminal or something. I know their used to be a "grand central station" at that site but thought that was like a century ago and everything was long gone.

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wow.. that is still being used? Houston severely needs to step it up in the rail department... we should have a nice (not necessarily $180 million nice, or w/e) intramodal transit center or some central station type thing instead of that rickety old awning under an overpass.

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  • The title was changed to POST: 401 Franklin Post Office Site Redevelopment

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