Alla Vista retail facility to close, say officials
BY VINCE ECHAVARIA
The U.S. Postal Service has approved a proposal to close its Marina Processing and Distribution Center, 13031 Jefferson Blvd., Del Rey area, and consolidate operations into a larger South Los Angeles facility, a move expected to be completed by early summer.
The Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. made its final decision on the proposal Tuesday, January 11th, said Larry Dozier, a spokesman for the Postal Service in Los Angeles.
The proposal, which was recommended by the Postal Service Pacific Area division, was based on cutting costs by consolidating the Marina Center into a facility within close proximity, he said.
The move into the largest Los Angeles processing center, at 7001 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, is expected to create a saving of about $16 million a year, Dozier said. The expected saving does not include proceeds from a possible sale of the 383,150-square-foot Marina Center.
“The Marina Center has been experiencing a shift in mail volume, while the much larger Los Angeles Center has underutilized capacity,” said Los Angeles district manager William Almaraz of the Postal Service.
The transition will not affect mail service for most customers, who will not realize there has been a change, Dozier said.
“We will make the move invisible to customers so they don’t know the difference,” he said.
Local postal officials informed the Marina Center employees of the decision to close the facility Friday, January 14th, he said.
The Postal Service has said none of the approximately 1,200 Marina Center employees would lose their job as a result of the move.
“No one will lose their job behind this,” Dozier said.
While all employees will keep their jobs, most will be relocated to the Los Angeles Center, and the rest will be moved to surrounding centers and post offices, he said.
John Driver, American Postal Workers Union president for the Marina Center, said that while the employees were aware they were not going to lose their jobs, they are not in favor of relocating.
“The majority of people are not interested in relocating,” Driver said. “They don’t want to do it and they don’t believe they should have to.”
The 1.2-million-square-foot Los Angeles facility, which currently has about 2,500 employees, can absorb both operations with enough space for 5,000 employees, Dozier said.
The Marina Center, which was built in 1976, handles mail for the local area and has the same operations as the Los Angeles Center, but on a “smaller scale,” he said.
The Marina Center provides service to 23 cities in the area and handles mail for the ZIP codes that begin with 902 through 905. After the move, the ZIP codes beginning with 902 through 904 will be sent to the Los Angeles Center, and 905 will go to Long Beach, he said.
The only feature of the Marina Center that will be eliminated with the closure is the small Alla Vista retail facility.
Although the Alla Vista retail facility will also be closed, it will remain at the site for up to three or four months after the Marina Center has moved to allow enough time for customers to be informed, Dozier said.
Retail service for purchasing stamps and other services will be available at other nearby locations, including 4766 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; 215 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey; 9029 Airport Blvd., airport area; 1601 Main St., Venice; and 3826 Grand View Blvd., Mar Vista.
The union is concerned that there are no plans to replace the Alla Vista retail facility or the bulk mail unit of the Marina Center, which is an efficient facility, Driver said. The customers did not have a say in the decision to close the facility, he said.
“They (Postal Service) didn’t have any input by the public,” he said.
The Postal Service expects to start moving some of the Marina Center operations within 30 days.
“We’ll see which operations we can move first with the least amount of effect on the customers,” Dozier said.
While the decision to close the Marina Center has been made, the potential plans for a sale of the property are unknown as this is now in the hands of the Postal Service facility operations, he said.
The union will continue to take action and may take the issue to court by seeking the support of local city councils and members of Congress, to allow for input by the public and local businesses, Driver said.
“We’re still going to fight to try and stop the closure,” Driver said. “The only people who can stop it now is the public.”