The U.S. Postal Service has decided it will proceed with a relocation from a historic post office building in Santa Monica to an annex facility despite appeals from residents and elected officials.
In an Oct. 4 letter, Postal Service Vice President of Facilities Tom Samra announced that the federal agency made its final decision to relocate retail services from the Santa Monica Post Office at 1248 Fifth St. less than a mile away to the carrier annex at 1653 Seventh St. The post office building was constructed in 1937 as part of the Works Project Administration.
An exact date for the move has not been determined but it will not take place until early next year, said Richard Maher, Postal Service spokesman.
As the agency’s final decision, there is no right to further administrative or judicial review, Samra wrote.
The move, which follows another relocation of postal retail services in Venice, comes as the Postal Service seeks to generate revenue through the sales of its buildings due to a significant drop in mail volume.
Santa Monica residents have objected to the plan, citing concerns about impacts to the historic building, the loss of a post office in the downtown area and troubles accessing the annex property. Some residents say the Seventh Street area is not as easily accessible for pedestrians and by transit and believe there could be some safety issues.
Samra said while he is sympathetic to the concerns raised, he will not set aside the decision. “In reaching this decision, I considered all of the public input received, but the objections expressed do not outweigh the practical and operational benefits for both the Postal Service and its customers, as well as the financial exigencies facing the Postal Service,” he wrote.
Elected officials, including Santa Monica City Council members and Rep. Henry Waxman, had expressed their desires for the retail services to remain in the historic structure. Waxman, in a letter to the Postal Regulatory Commission, called the post office “a historic landmark that has been serving the residents of Santa Monica since its dedication in 1938,” and he urged the commission to suspend the closure.
Samra noted in his letter that the post office is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Maher additionally has stated that the building’s historic characteristics will be maintained through covenants that will be attached to the building’s deed.