U.S. Postal Service Lease Extension
Posted: August 22, 2014
The City of Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority (RDA) Board this week debated the merits of extending the lease for the U.S. Postal Service another six months while USPS remodels its soon-to-be new location along East Madison Street in downtown Eau Claire. Although the postal service signed a lease to occupy the former Charly's Market location and neighboring vacant space on July 3rd, no work has been done yet to renovate the site for the new postal service facility.
The RDA Board discussed the possibility of offering a one-month extension to the postal service lease of the downtown building. Since the postal service is paying a below-market lease rate of $5,000 per month for 27,000 square feet of space, the RDA Board originally talked about doubling the lease rate for the month of October since the postal service lease expires at the end of September.
Fortunately, City Manager Russ Van Gompel offered a motion that essentially denied the postal service request for a six-month extension to its lease. The RDA was put in a bad spot to negotiate. So if the board offered any extension, what is to say that the postal service would not continue to delay its move through the end of the busy holiday season? That's why it was a prudent move by the RDA Board to deny the lease extension and make the postal service come up with a viable alternative.
The downtown postal service facility is basically a retail outlet. No mail sorting is done in the building and the operation wants to downsize to only occupy about 4,000 square feet of space. Why couldn't the postal service, which stated that it needed 90 days to remodel its new location, move the post office boxes, its retail counters and employees to the new facility by the end of September? Apparently, no work is being done yet, so there will likely be a need for a temporary facility or a lease extension of some sort to accommodate the public that utilizes the downtown post office.
However, downtown Eau Claire has a parking problem that is not going to go away. The potential multi-level parking ramp, which must still be approved by the city council, is a viable option. But that complex won't be constructed overnight. So it behooves the postal service to get with the program and start doing the necessary renovations of its new location.
Kudos to the RDA Board for making the right decision. Make the postal service come up with some answers.