Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Bethesda Post Office update

Locals gathered at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center on May 15 as a representative from the United States Postal Service spoke about current efforts to find a new post office venue in Bethesda.

This decision comes one year after the USPS closed down two post offices in downtown Bethesda to save money. Additionally, along with the location at 6900 Wisconsin Ave., this would bring a second post office to Bethesda. So why does the USPS feel this is a necessary move?

Throughout the forum, USPS real estate expert Richard Hancock stressed that this is purely an "economic decision" and that the USPS sees potential for profit with the resources it is prepared to invest.

Many attendees voiced their dissatisfaction with the current postal office citing the lack of parking as a main cause of frustration.

When asked about the specific parameters of the new location Hancock provided few certainties. "What is certain is that it would be a retail-only space, approximately 2,000-square-feet, with parking and P.O. boxes", said Hancock.  Hancock ensured that the process of searching for a property has already begun and that the USPS was holding this meeting to reach out to community members for suggestions on sites and overall input.

Following the meeting Hancock informed us that the search for a new Post office is limited to the 20816 zip code, which includes the Westbard commercial area.

If residents are interested in assisting the USPS, Hancock outlined the ensuing process as follows: the USPS would take public comments through the end of June, including specific suggestions as to where the new post office should be located. After that 45-day period, the USPS, with the help of real estate broker CBRE, would draft a list of viable options and send it back to the community and allow for another 30-day comment period. Finally, a site will be chosen, and after yet another 30 days for comments, a five-year lease will be signed.

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