Although word has gotten around that Columbus Circle will have a post office for at least another year, the United States Postal Service is keeping mum on the deal.
George Flood, a spokesperson for the New York metro area, would neither confirm nor deny the lease extension, and issued the following statement on April 21: “With the existing lease set to expire on May 31 at the Columbus Circle Post Office, we continue to explore all our options, including looking for alternate sites. Any announcement of a final decision would be premature at this time.”
But Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s office and Council Member Gale Brewer’s office both confirmed that the lease had been extended.
The branch, at 27 W. 60th St., was weeks away from shutting down because the Postal Service was unable to negotiate new terms for the 10-year lease, set to expire on April 30. Property owner Alan N. Locker was reportedly asking for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 million, up from the current rent of about $400,000 month. Terms of the new lease were not available and Locker’s office did not immediately return a call for comment.
“This is great news for the West Side,” Nadler said. “I’m very pleased that the Columbus Circle Post Office was able to successfully renegotiate its lease. This means that neighborhood residents won’t have to travel far afield to do their basic postal errands.”
The Columbus Circle branch generates “decent revenue” and is fairly average in terms of postal transactions, according to Raschelle Parker, manager of customer relations for the New York district of the Postal Service. Officials are still hoping to negotiate another 10-year lease with Locker, or find nearby space that will be ready to use once the lease extension runs out in May 2010.
News of the imminent closure came as a surprise when it was first revealed on March 31. Since then, local elected officials and Community Board 7 representatives have been working to negotiate a new lease, or find new space for the branch. Officials met with post office personnel as recently as April 15 to discuss the situation.
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