The future acquisition of a U.S. Postal Service property at the Windward Avenue Circle in Venice has, not surprisingly, drawn the attention of potential buyers both locally and nationally.
The parcel at 313 Grand Blvd., which contains a Postal Service carrier annex, is along the traffic circle that is one of the most traversed areas of Venice as a crossing point to the beach and other points of interest.
Los Angeles-based Grubb and Ellis, the company that the Postal Service retained to receive proposals, refers to the area’s central location as a “prime corner” of the (Abbot) Kinney Plaza. The property is part of the original Venice of America tract subdivided by founder Kinney, and over the years it has had various uses, including the Venetian Villas, Cosmos Social Club and a supermarket.
In the request for qualification (RFQ) document, Grubb and Ellis describes the site as part of the “highly desirable Silver Triangle,” a residential and commercial corridor between Main Street and Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
“It’s a very exciting piece of property for folks,” said Martin McDermott, Grubb and Ellis vice president. “Everyone seems to be aware that Venice is unique and special, and it needs to be treated as such.”
The Postal Service has put the 78,000-square foot property up for sale in an effort to consolidate operations and cut costs, agency spokesman Richard Maher said.
The lot includes a 15,890-square-foot building that has not had retail services and was used primarily as a postal carrier unit. Operations have not been moved from the property and mail delivery will not be interrupted for customers with the pending sale, Maher said.
“This is just a carrier annex and we are able to move the carrier into a different facility without any impact to the community whatsoever,” Maher said.
The deadline for applications in the RFQ was September 30th and McDermott noted that proposals were received from throughout the Los Angeles region and cities across the country, including Chicago and New York. The applicants include developers and high network investor groups, he said.
“It’s very much encouraging a broad base response,” he said.
The Postal Service has not listed a sale price for its annex property. The agency and Grubb and Ellis are currently in the process of reviewing the qualifications of the applicants to select the future buyer.
With the property’s prime location and historic connection to the community, residents have also expressed interest in acquiring the land upon learning of the plans for sale. Residents have offered suggestions such as a park and multi-purpose community center, as well as parking and transitional housing for the homeless, if the city were able to purchase the land.
In a letter to Postmaster General John Potter, Congresswoman Jane Harman said the facility is a “valuable piece of property,” but she asked that the city be considered to buy or lease the property from the federal government.
Venice resident Erin Sullivan, who is involved with a group that supported a proposed park and community center, said they still hope to meet with the future buyer to discuss any possible uses for the community.
“Whoever the winning bidder is, we would love to talk to them to try to get something for the community,” Sullivan said.
McDermott noted that the Postal Service is seeking market rate value for the property and can not dictate what the future use will be. The process to choose a buyer could take two months, after which community groups and the City Council office can try to discuss a potential agreement with the buyer, he said.