By Krista Brick and Elizabeth Waibel
The United States Postal Service is considering four locations for the new White Flint office.
According to a Dec. 10 letter to Bethesda Regional Services Director Ken Hartman from Richard Hancock, real estate specialist for the postal service, the four sites under review are:
• 5420 Edson Lane
• 5000-5060 Nicholson Lane, Nicholson Plaza
• 11760-11796 Parklawn Dr., Parklawn Commerce Center
• 11601-11631 Nebel St., Flint Hill Building
The post office inside the White Flint Mall has to move because of plans to tear down the mall, which is owned by Lerner Enterprises, and redevelop the land. The postal service’s lease for the site expires May 31, 2014, and Lerner has elected not to renew the lease, according to the USPS statement.
“We’re under the gun right now because the landlord of the mall is kicking us out,” Hancock told The Gazette.
The postal service hopes to pick a preferred site to consider from one of those four sites. The postal service is still taking public comments into consideration in its search, Hancock said.
“This is the investigatory phase,” he said.
Hancock said the mall redevelopment will not be completed for two to three years and it is not operationally feasible or economically viable to operate a postal facility in a construction redevelopment site.
Sites that have been rejected by the postal service include a location in the White Flint Mall and 11520-11560 Rockville Pike, Metro Pike Center.
The Metro Pike Center location was nixed because that building is slated for redevelopment and the landlord will only lease space for two years there or until the redevelopment project starts, according to Hancock’s letter.
Hartman said the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee is reviewing the locations and will provide feedback to the postal service.
“I can say they are very much interested in retaining the post office near the White Flint Sector Plan Area and that it is walkable to the thousands who work and live in there,” Hartman wrote in an email to The Gazette.
A preferred site will not be announced for a minimum of 30 days, Hancock wrote in his letter. Any comments should be mailed to: Richard Hancock, USPS Eastern Facilities Service Office, P.O. Box 27497 Greensboro, N.C. 27498-1103 or email@example.com.
The postal service is also hoping to find a space for a new Bethesda retail post office, but hasn’t had any luck yet.
In a separate letter to the Bethesda-Chevy Chase regional services director, dated Dec. 5, Hancock wrote that after “extensive investigations” in Bethesda, “no economically viable and operationally feasible properties have been identified.”
Hancock told The Gazette that the postal service will keep looking for a site in Bethesda in hopes that one will open up.
“Things change constantly in real estate,” he said.