New York Post: Chelsea residents, pols, oppose sale of historic post office

 

    February 5, 2013 : By Jennifer Gould Keil and Bob Fredericks

    The US Postal Service wants to unload the Old Chelsea Post Office on West 18th Street - but neighbors say they won’t give up the landmark without a fight.

    “I love the Post Office! It’s an important part of the community and the community is saying they should not take it away,” fumed Barbara Ruether, 79, who lives in the Village but is a regular.

    A top Manhattan commercial real estate appraiser told The Post the 40,000-square foot building in a prime Chelsea location could easily fetch more than $36 million - and far more if more stories can be added.

    Ruether said she learned of the pending sale when she spotted a letter from postal authorities to state preservation officials posted on a bulletin board announcing the plan.

    “Nobody knew what was happening,” said Ruether, who alerted Community Board 4 and state Sen. Brad Hoylman.

    The sale is on CB4’s agenda when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hotel Trades Council Auditorium at 305 W. 44th St.

    Hoylman said yesterday he was joining with other local, state and federal elected officials to fight to keep the facility open.

    “Public spaces like Old Chelsea Post Office are critical to character of our community and we don’t want to lose it,” he said.

    A spokeswoman for the Post Office confirmed yesterday that the building was up for sale.

    “The Old Chelsea Station is being considered for downsizing to a smaller space. No decision has been finalized as of this time, it is in the early stages,” spokeswoman Connie Chirichello said in an email to The Post.

    The Colonial Revival-style building was designed in 1935 by architect Eric Kebbon, who also designed other post offices and school buildings across the city.

    It has not been landmarked by the city, though it’s been designated as a historic place by both the state and federal governments, which means new owners would likely have to preserve most of the existing structure and carvings.

    Publication date: 
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 18:15