By Jim Smith
The U.S. Post Office is considering selling its historic building on the Venice Circle, according to a spokesperson for the government agency.
Richard J. Maher, press spokesperson, says a decision has not yet been made and that the community will be given input before anything is finalized. He says the current operation will be moved to the Annex building at 313 Grand Avenue. The old Safeway grocery building on the site would be remodeled to accommodate both public and carrier activities.
Meanwhile, letters commenting on the proposed sale can be sent to the U.S. Post Office, Consumer Affairs Office, 7001 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90052-9631.
When the Hermosa Beach Post Office was on the closure list last year, residents sent 4,000 emails to Post Office officials and Member of Congress Jane Harman. The Post Office was saved and Harman pledged that no other facilities would be closed in her district (see details at http://bit.ly/i0TkFs). She resigned on Feb. 28 and an election is underway to choose a successor. Readers may want to ask candidates for a similar pledge before choosing one.
The Post Office was built in 1939 as part of the federal Works Projects Administration (WPA). It has historic status, said Maher. The reason for the sale is a budget shortfall in the federal operation. “We are doing everything we can to tighten the belt,” he added.
The previous Post Office was at 310-312 Venice Way. That building is a good example of what can happen without historical protection. The art deco facade that made the building unique was destroyed a few years ago.
If the current Post Office has historical protection, a new owner would not be allowed to alter it. However, it could be used for commercial or office facilities. It’s unclear what would happen to the historic mural in the lobby that was created by Edward Biberman in 1941.