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Palo Alto's downtown post office to be sold

Original post made on Dec 16, 2011

The U.S. Postal Service plans to sell the historic building that houses Palo Alto's downtown post office and move its operations to a smaller facility as part of a nationwide effort to cut costs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 16, 2011, 8:14 PM

Comments (54)

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

The end of an era...and the beginning of an error.

Posted by Thru-Rain-And-Sleet-And-Snow..
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

While reducing government spending is never a bad idea, one has to wonder just how much money "relocating" this post office is going to save the PO, and just how the access to services will change?

The article (and presumably the PO) did not specify where they would be moving to, or even if the new location would be in Palo Alto. It's hard to believe that the businesses in downtown are not going to be inconvenienced by this decision.

However, it might give some of these businesses a chance to rethink their need for the USPS, given the emergence of the Internet. It also might open up some business opportunities for people to offer post office boxes and other business-oriented services which the USPS does not offer. Of course, the incredibly high cost of real estate in down town, thanks in part to "Chop" Keenan and Jim Baer make it difficult for small businesses to get started these days.

There was a time that core services of a town included a central post office. With the Internet, private sector delivery services and electronic funds transfers, having a brick-n-mortar post office in a central location is no longer necessary.

Let's hope that the building does not end up housing nail salons, like has happened on California Avenue.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

My guess is that it will go the route of the "Historic" Roth building.

The City will buy it at an inflated price, then it will sit unused and decaying for years.

It's new tennants will be the University Ave bums.

Posted by new office
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 17, 2011 at 11:07 am

Of course the new post office will be in downtown Palo Alto. There is really no point in building it elsewhere. There are already 2 other official post offices in Palo Alto (one on Bayshore and on Cambridge, near California). The Bayshore office is the main Palo Alto post office, where mail sorting etc goes on. The new downtown post office will likely be much smaller than the current office, similar in size to the Cambridge office.

I think it is good the the government is downsizing their services and facilities to meet the demand and save tax payer dollars. Just hope that the new tenant can maintain the historic and public nature of the building.

Posted by Larry Cohn
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

Imagine that -- a nail salon designed by Birge Clark.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Historic? That must be the most overused word in Palo Alto!

The Post Office in the UK sold most of its purpose built buildings in town centres many years ago and they are now furniture shops, computer centres, etc. etc. in every town. They moved into retail facilities which they shared with drugstore type businesses with just a counter at the back for Post Office business. This seems to have been a great success as the post office customers usually do other business in the retail part of the store and the shared facility works well for customers and staff alike. There is no reason that this system should not work well in Palo Alto.

After all, for most of us who have no reason to go to the downtown branch at all as for a special trip the Bayshore facility makes more sense. Our family usually uses Mountain View post office mainly as it is much more convenient for us.

Posted by new office
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

The point of a downtown office is to be within walking distance downtown businesses. Yes, businesses still do a lot of mailing. And workers sometimes have personal business as well. The Postal Service still is service oriented.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm

So what are the great costs that make it so profitable to get rid of this historic building that everyone knows and is proud of in Palo Alto?

I imagine the heating bills are probably pretty high ... so why not spend the money and retrofit the building with new windows, insulation and maybe a solar heating system.

What else ... groundskeeping? The trees and lawn probably also cost money to keep up.

How about some real numbers about the costs, and then what are the costs of getting a new building, buying or renting? What about parking for customers and access. It is bad enough trying to get the current post office building and there is quite a bit of parking around it ... how is that going to be improved by moving it to a smaller location?

Titanic deck chairs comes to mind here, but I sure would like to see some facts and numbers - mostly because most of what the government is doing as regards the Post Office lately is so ass-backwards, and is based on false and misleading information designed to push the mail delivery system into the hands of the usual "private sector" suspects that don't seem to be improving much of anything.

Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I am reminded of what happened some years ago in San Francisco with the Rincon Annex postal facility.

There remains a limited postal service operation there, but it mainly is a food court for the the various office building occupants in the vicinity. It seems to have worked out fine.

I can go to a UPS store, a CVS pharmacy, or a mail box, and largely get what I need for my mail services. Like most people, I appreciate the daily delivery service we get at home each day. But that is a different part of the "business model."

We need to figure out how to put to its next use the downtown PA Post Office. Let's not lose this building. It is a treasure and can provide another service.

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Anon - the great costs are the value of the building. I'm sure most of the same functions could happen in a much smaller space (although I wonder what they will do with the PO boxes).

I find it ironic that a business that is nearing bankruptcy has no plans to lay off any staff.

Posted by Cutbacks Needed
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm

The Post Office has already closed the large facility they had on 1st Street in Los Altos. I went into the new and much smaller branch on Main Street for the first time the other day.

Having always stood in long lines at the old post office I found myself the only customer in the new branch with only one retail provider behind the counter. It was a big change.

Some three months ago I also found myself the only customer at the Hamilton Avenue branch in Palo Alto; so like Los Altos it may be time to close it and relocate to a smaller and cheaper facility.

Personally, I'm in favor of the Post Offices plans to cut back services they can no longer afford; including consolidating sorting offices and ending Saturday deliveries. If my mail takes two/three days to reach me, so be it - it's no problem to me or the average household.

I buy my stamps at Costco now, so why do we need so many Post Offices?

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm

The whole service has been "rightsizing" staff by about 35,000/year for awhile now, by attrition, retirements, and layoffs. No need to suddenly sack a bunch more when finally downsizing their real estate. Plans are to continue declining by this rate for another four years at least. The 2011 P.O. fact sheet shows 547,000 "career employees." (More than McDonald's, fewer than Walmart.)

Everyone ready for the postal rate increase on January 22nd?

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

About that rate increase - I would prefer it to be all the way to 50 cents, then in jumps of 5 or ten cents. This would give the PO enough money to plan further ahead. As for the downtown PO, a great police station.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm

> Cutbacks Needed
> Some three months ago I also found myself the only customer at the Hamilton Avenue branch in Palo Alto

Sheesh ... let's just base all out city decision on your anecdotal experiences. I have found myself a couple of times the only person driving on a street too, but I would not suggest closing the street. Sorry for the sarcasm, but that comment is pretty self-centered.

The nature of the Post Office is that sometimes there is no one there and sometimes, like today and yesterday everyone is grumbling about having to wait in line and how inefficient they are. Most of the people could use the automated machine to get their postage as well, but I guess they prefer to grumble like know-it-alls about how the Post Office is so bad.

Well, most of my life I have not really had to use the Post Office much, but in the last 2 year or so I have mailed quite a few packages, like 500 or so selling things online. Not a package lost and only one package that was late. The vast majority of them arrived ahead of time making me look really good to my "customers".

I am amazed a lot by how many people and how often people just hear something in air and repeat it without really any idea if it is true or not. I have had much more problems with Fed Ex. The constantly, almost every time they deliver drive by my house, miss it, and I get a notice that my address is non-existent. UPS gets it better but is often late, way into the night.

The reason I asked for some solid information is that this building is from the 20's, it is surely owned by the Federal Government or whatever, what could be the costs on it, but maintenance and energy - and that may be a lot. Why not retrofit it, rennovate it to put a Starbucks or something, put in wireless and let it be a little spot where people can come 7x24.

Already there are often people sleeping there ... making it into a little enclave or service businesses would be nice and keep the homeless out or at least monitored. Also it is nearby City Hall so it keeps public functions in the same area.

Also, as someone mentioned the PO boxes ... there are so many, and there is such a demand for more of them that any place the PO moves to is going to have to have a fairly large amount of floor space ... exactly how much savings do they expect in buying a new building or renting one at current prices? This is another giveaway to the private sector that we are all going to have to pay for is what I suspect, and then we lose another public space/assett.

Has anyone seen what happens to the NEW stuff that is built. For example the Mountain View Post Office off Castro is a disgrace. Almost everything is broken and abused. It was built like a monkey house, concrete and tile, and still it is busted up and dirty looking. Nothing works very well either. It is not that old but it looks worn and old when you go inside.

The Palo Alto Post Office is something Palo Alto could always be proud of, it is a nice, classic comfortable place, with some possible problems that could be fixed with a little investment, instead the idiots who run the Post Office are trying to push it into failure mode and sell off valuable assetts that the public will not benefit from in any way.

Also, Palo Alto Mom, the Post Office is not near bankruptcy ... do some homework and look at why the numbers are so funny. The Post Office was forced by law .. the Republican Congress to overfund its retirement plan way into the future - sometjhing no other business or government branch has had to do - and as a consequence has cash flow problems currently.


Posted by Bob
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

> If it a'int broke ..

My friend .. it's broke .. it's so broke ..

Web Link

If people are so attached to the building .. then buy it .. and make into a palo alto postal museum, so some such.

America .. it's time to take your medicine .. and that means palo alto too.

Posted by Need more intelligence
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I just love it when people say if you like a building, buy it. For such a person, money should control everything. If you don't have millions to buy a building you have mo right to an opinion.
Really small minded, with $bills in the head instead of a brain.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

> If you don't have millions to buy a building you have
> mo right to an opinion.

How American .. NOT!

Palo Alto is becoming more like 1935 Germany every day!

Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I remember going to this beautiful post office with my Dad when he bought new stamps for his collection. We are talking a century ago. That's when you had to lick the back of stamps to affix them to an envelope. Of course none of you recall those days.

Posted by Sam
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

If the USPS had any sense, they would consider moving into a smaller space, and renting the current post office space to another business. Selling the building will result in a one off $6M gain, or so, which will evaporate immediately into the USPS debt hole, and will do little to help the USPS. Renting the current space, should generate enough rent to pay for the rent on the new smaller space, plus a bit of positive cash flow/profit.

Nah, that makes too much sense.

Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

It should become part of CPA Community Services and become a center/hangout for all ages from:
1) preschool
2) elementary
3) jr high
4) high school
5) adults
6) senior citizen.

Forget office space of a unknown venture capital firm.
Those firm are burning external cash still will be gone
once the economic tides turn turn .... as they always will.

SO make it a destination for the city citizens.
Use some of that Stanford $s you have in the lock box - council.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm

The GOP in 2006 tagged the postal service with a ridiculous requirement to have it pre-fund it's retirement benefits plan 75 years in advance within a 10 year period. Without that unintelligable requirement the postal service would be make a regular tidy profit.

Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Dec 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm


Well, at least they will be getting the retirement benefits they paid for all their working lives.

Will you be getting the SS and Medicare you have paid for?

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2011 at 3:03 am

when confronted with the facts, change the subject. i cannot imagine what someone what someone feels they gain by filling their life with this silliness. it's not like you get exercise running from facts.

Posted by Pony Express
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 18, 2011 at 3:08 am

Paul Losch: "I can go to a UPS store, a CVS pharmacy, or a mail box, and largely get what I need for my mail services. Like most people, I appreciate the daily delivery service we get at home each day. But that is a different part of the "business model.""

And what do the commercial post services cost, compared to USPS? There's a sucker born every day, and America it seems has roughly 300 million of them!

UPS and FedEx are chomping at the bit.

Posted by Martin
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2011 at 8:08 am

What a shame! I love the old building, and love going there for public services. Do we really want this to be someone's private office space? What about maintaining the fabric of our community. Is that not worth something?

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

@ Cutbacks Needed:

Really? Alone? Nearly every time that I have stepped foot inside of the Hamilton Ave. Post Office, I end up waiting in line for 20-30 minutes.

In fact, the only time that I ever had no one in front of me in the line was when I arrived before the Post Office had opened.

Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm


Have you ever considered by you hit the lines at the post office? Probably the same you reason any of us hits the rush hour traffic. The more average of a post office use you are, the more likely you are to go to the post office when everyone else is going - thus hitting lines.

I never used the post office much before the last few year when I have had occasion to make some real comparisons.

First, they do a very good job. I don't like the lines, but I have hit lines going to pick things up that were not delivered by UPS or FedEx as well.

FedEx is as likely as not for some reason by drive right by my address not even taking a moment to look for it before they radio in that my address does not exist.

Both FedEx and UPS charge a lot. Just the other day I bought an Apple laptop, paying $20 extra for 2 day delivery from Fed Ex that never arrives in 2 days. How are they allowed to do that and why doesn't Newt Gingrich and every other Republican anti-postal-service ever examine some real facts.

We have seen it time and time again, starting with geting rid of the estate tax the Republicans make up an argument and a scenario they think will touch regular people's hearts, that are complete lies. Like the estate tax was driving farmers out of buisness and small businesses. They hired people to drive rented tractors through Washington to protest. None of them were farmers, and there was no case reporters could find of just the estate tax driving a family farm out of business.

We are lied to by huge think tanks that work up focus groups and statistics and experiments about how to manipulate people - and facts and the truth rarely enters into it. They goal seems to be to put every stream of production and revenue is a big hierarchy with someone, presumably Republicans at the top. But they never come right out and say that, or campaign on it. The whole world went to war to reject fascism, and now that the participants in that endeavor are dying out so is our historic and institutional memory to replaced by false implanted memories and synthetic experience given to herd us in one direction of another. Just say no to fascism 2.0 it just has a smiley face pasted on it.

If there was a point to this regimentation we should all get a voice in voting for or against it based on transparent clear information, no media manipulation and lies.

Posted by old
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:09 am

That's right, USA, drive out your poor, those who cannot afford computer/internet/car. Drive them out by closing the post office they can walk to, by destroying the public transport system that they would have to waste their time using to get to the post office that has not been closed. These post office moves are another tax on the poor instead of a tax on the internet that destroyed this amenity vital to the poor.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

Idea for a developer:

Palo Alto Post Office Building as a local "SF Ferry Building" type of development with a couple of anchor restaurants, several Farmers' Mkt. mini booths....and maybe a Post Office window too.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

Hate making comparisons, but here I go again. Sometimes comparisons can lead to good ideas.

Not only has the post office in the UK sold their own purpose built distinctive buildings as I mentioned earlier, but they also do a great deal of the work that are done by the DMV and Social Security offices do here. They don't do driving tests or car inspections, but they do licenses and car tax and also welfare benefits, social security and pensions, and of course passports.

If the US government could consolidate all these services into one location there would be shared costs for each agency, but from the point of view of the customer there would be more location choices so probably a nearer location than there might be now for these services.

If the USPS was able to do double duty and use each Post Office to process routine DMV and Social Security issues, it might save each agency a bundle.

It is about time the USPS started being innovative, thinking outside the box and started streamlining its service without reducing service. They need to remain competitive to keep its customers, not reduce its service so that those who can afford to go elsewhere choose another option. At this rate, it will be only the poor who have no other options who use the USPS as the rest of us will move to the internet and other carriers to do our bill paying and letter/package sending.

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:25 am

Hey, we're becoming Anywhere, USA. We need more ugly new buildings like those 2 new hotels going in across from where Rickey's was. I've stayed in those Hilton's everywhere, man.

Since all that's distinctive in Palo Alto's being lost or is empty, lower our taxes to Middle America's rate.

Posted by Prof. W
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

@Outside Observer: WE are the 'bums' for allowing our fellow humans to live without homes. Perhaps the rest of us should consider down-sizing, too, so that others may live decent lives.

Posted by Downtown Resident and Business Owner
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

I use this post office regularly, for personal use as well as my small business. I walk to pick up mail and send packages. I also pay for a PO Box there.

If the new USPS location is not within walking distance, I will likely get a PO Box at the UPS on Bryant. I want to support USPS, but if I have to get into my car to get mail service, or to check my PO Box, that is too high a cost for me.

Will I still use the USPS flat rate boxes that I regularly use now? Not clear, if the price to send UPS packages/FedEx (Bryant, within walking distance) is not more then $5-15 more, the time saved to walk to UPS versus drive somewhere will likely be worth it to me. As a parent with small children and limited hours to dedicate to my small business due to child care costs, these things all factor in.

Another note on the UK model, in Canada a similar model exists, you can access many/all postal services in small corner stores. The hybrid model described above of adding services to the current downtown post office (SF ferry building style) sounds really interesting to me.

Not sure how common it would be for people to stop using USPS because of these changes, but this describes how I predict my behavior would change and my use of USPS would go down.

Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

I used to deliver mail out of the downtown post office. There's something about walking into that building and standing in line with other people, talking and commenting. Camaraderie - something you don't get at the UPS store. The building has a history that you can feel walking up to it. It would be a shame to have it be privately-owned and off-limits to the public. And, of course, people with no history of growing up in Palo Alto in the "old days" won't give a rat's ass about whether this building stays or goes!

Posted by Cid Young
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

"CHOP" Keenan should buy the Half Moon Bay Post Office. After all, he is responsible for the many cut-backs the town has suffered due to his multi-million dollar successful lawsuit.

This would be his chance to get a deal, since real estate values in Half Moon Bay have suffered major deficits since the town had to swallow his ... and pay up. A millionaire can smell a good deal a county away.

Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:17 am

This is simply the Post Office's way of selling off valuable taxpayer funded assets to pay for inflated public employee pension liability -- and is a short-sighted drain and represents the theft of a public asset.

If a family has a budget crisis, do you sell the home? It works in the short term, but eventually the accountability for balance is imposed. So sad to see the future so clear and no that their is no political will or way to avoid the train wreck.

My condolences.

Tim Gray

Posted by Phil Blue Water Pools
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

I have had a P.O. Box at the downtown Post office for over 35 years. Never have to change addresses. I go there every day (along with many other daily familiar faces over the years) I enjoy going into that magnificent building every day, reminds me of the post offices in Europe. I cant believe it wont be a huge difference (parking, etc) at a new location. It may just not work.
As others have noted, it does seem like a little spike in income for the post office which will not make a difference...

Posted by Noel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

What idiocy. Designating the post office building as historic ties up a piece of prime real estate for all time and screws the post office out of getting a market price for that prime real estate. There are plenty of architects today who could turn that plot into something truly special. Instead, some organization will make all kinds of compromises to squeeze themselves into a ho-hum building for the sake of the building's "historic"-ness. "Historic" needs to mean something a lot more than that post office building or we are soon going to lock our entire city into mediocrity.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

@ Cid Young: I'm sorry, but when did Chop set his HMB development on fire and when did Chop illegally change the zoning for the burned down development?

The HMB council is responsible for that mess, not Chop. They tried to change the rules in the middle of the game and got caught. They could have reversed the zoning back to the original state or they could have settled with Chop. No. Instead HMB chose to roll the dice and lost.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 19, 2011 at 1:10 pm

A little history of the PA Post Office, which, as others have mentioned, is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. This is excerpted from the Palo Alto History Project page on Birge Clark:

"Birge Clark’s father was an architect, Stanford Professor and mayor of Mayfield. A longtime friend of Herbert Hoover, Arthur Clark constructed the future president’s home in 1919 with assistance from young Birge....

He was also immensely talented. In his early days, Clark worked almost exclusively in the fairly short-lived, but locally popular architectural style, variously referred to as Spanish Colonial Revival, California Colonial or the closely-related, Mission Revival. Although there were variations, the style most often consisted of stucco wall, red clay roof tiles, cast concrete ornaments and wrought iron grilles. Popular between 1915 and 1931, this romantic fashion caught on in many places with a Spanish past --- Florida, Texas and especially California....

But while Spanish motifs may have been all the rage in 1920s California, things were a little different back East. Presenting his blueprints for Palo Alto’s post office to the nation’s postmaster general in Washington, Clark was ridiculed. As long-time employee and associate Joseph Ehrlich tells the story, “The postmaster pushed them away and said, ‘Don’t you know what a U.S. post office looks like? We expect a stately building with neo-Romanesque columns showing the power of the federal government. I cannot approve this design.’…Birge responded, ‘Ok, but I don’t think the President and First Lady are going to be pleased with the design change.’” After revealing that the Hoovers had already approved the plans while Clark was breakfasting with his old friends that morning, the postmaster had a sudden change of heart and approved every blueprint in front of him."

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

THANK YOU, Larry Cohn, for a good chuckle! Thanks, too, to "neighbor" who suggested the "Ferry Building" idea for a developer to consider. It really would be wonderful for that lovely building to remain one that the public can enjoy from both inside and out.

Posted by House Sense
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 19, 2011 at 2:07 pm

We need new housing in downtown Palo Alto.The old post office building can remain, as a clubhouse and build new housing around it. It's great for bmr low income families. Old Palo Alto supports that in other areas and now it's our turn. One public use to a greater public use.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm

With all due respect to the diatribes of many of the prior contributors, there are too many unknowns for any of us to make reasonable guesses as to the best thing to do at this time.

Anon: It's only a "valuable asset" if it is sold. I would believe the PO would have done the numbers and decided the yearly cost to maintain that square footage (in front and in the back) and level of service was not cost effective. The cost to modify the building for any other purpose would add to the square footage cost. This might make the sale price well below Mr. Keenan's $500 per sq. ft. estimate.

Doesn't Historic Bldg. mean you can't change anything? Or at least go through the years and years of Architectural Review Board Palo Alto Process for any modification?

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm

How about selling the Bayshore post office and once again making the downtown post office the main one, which it was for years??? It would truly be a shame to lose this post office as a public building, open to only a few.
The attitude of the postal service seems shortsighted; reminds me of the days when tbe PA school board decided to sell off Crescent Park and other school properties....

Posted by Delores
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I am just sad to hear this story - I love going to the downtown post office....mailing packages and perusing the various stamp options, grumbling with the other patrons, chatting in line and the lovely Cristina (station manager). I have used mail counters at businesses and never feel as secure as I do mailing a package from the stately downtown location.

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Larry Cohn, you are a card!

This breaks my heart. Andronico's, Borders, now this--everything I love in Palo Alto is going broke and closing down. It is a pleasure to mail a package or buy stamps in this beautiful building, and for a few minutes feel part of a gracious, glorious past. I'm not a Tea Party person, but I want my country back.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Dec 19, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Nora --- Tea Party? Huh? The "good-old-American Way" is not to subsidize uneconomic operations. That would be socialism.

Posted by Floyd
a resident of Green Acres
on Dec 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I'm glad that I took photos of the building this summer. The interior ceiling is a work of art. It would make great setup for a museum. There are many such buildings in downtown especially on and around Forest Avenue.
I remember the original building for Foothill College that was on the east side of El Camino in Mt. View. It had a colorful hand painted ceiling that seemed a Scandinavian design. I think that was leveled.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 20, 2011 at 11:05 am

Not that I want to see the building sold, but didn't the article state that the USPS would open a new/smaller office in downtown PA? If so, then all of the fretting over access to a "walkable" USPS office would seem to be moot?

Posted by old
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 20, 2011 at 11:20 am

Neighbor, and others, correct me if I'm wrong but the good old american way diverted resources to those on the uneconomic margins. Now even Palo Altans call that socialism. And even I used the past tense.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Let's just cut the heart out of the town. A town's center, it's heart, is the post office. There is absolutely no reason to close this Post Office and I intend to fight back! I know! - Let's just destroy Palo Alto - tear down all the old buildings, and build something we never knew - forget about the old town. So I'm going to fight back! Not at the local level, but at the Federal level where the ridiculous bill to require the USPS to fund pensions far into the future just does not make sense. Other USG agencies are not held to the same standard. Who will join me?

Posted by Cid Young
a resident of another community
on Dec 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm

You're 50% right,Crescent Park Dad. Chop did also build an Ocean view-blocking condo hotel that was found mysteriously burning late one night, to the ground. He collected the insurance money, and rebuilt. RUMOR around the Coast was it may have been set deliberately .... perhaps by one of the nefarious characters that live in nearby Princeton Harbor. {Nothing to do with the zoning, that I know of.}

The lawsuit I referred to in my earlier post was the Beachwood Property. link: Web Link
That's the one that has nearly bankrupted the town, and you're right about the zoning, the property became Man-made wetlands, which devlued the property from it's original condition. But the "Townies" that run the place were/are bull-headed and stubbornly did NOT want to give up or give in. Even recently, faced with debt (due to Judge Walker's ruling in CHoP'S FAVOR) THEY WERE RELUCTANT TO DISOLVE their police department, even though when they finally did, as a result of the lawsuit, they are finding out they are getting better service provided by the SM County Sheriff's Dept.

Now, however, everyone who comes to the Coast with the purchasing of a home in mind do tend to inquire about the wisdom of investing in a town that is broker than broke... Thanks to Chop. That, and the Banking Melt-down of 2008, is why it is considerably cheaper to invest in Real Estate in the City Limits of Half Moon Bay now.

Hence, a Millionaire that is eyeing one Post Office might want to buy the second one at Bargain Basement prices, created by his lawsuit. The P.O. in HMB will be on the block too.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

Lisa--give us a way to reach you (e-mail address?), and maybewe can save the downtown post office. Or have the PA Weekly put your contact info in an article

Posted by C. Bedford
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

I have had my Post Office Box for almost 40 years, I can't believe that they would even considering in closing this one, this Post office is one of the busiest Post Office in Palo Alto... What a waste of an Historic Building.

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