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Pratt Post Office a Victim of Gentrification, Congressman Says

By Janet Upadhye | September 26, 2013 3:20pm | Updated on September 27, 2013 4:42pm
 Congressman Hakeem Jeffires hosted a meeting at Willoughby Walk to address neighbors' concerns about the relocation of Pratt Post Office.
Hakeem Jeffries on Pratt Post Office
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CLINTON HILL — Residents aren't the only ones affected by booming development and increased rental rates in the Fort Greene area.

The Pratt post office has been affected as well, according to U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Jeffries blamed the Post Office's displacement on "intense economic gentrification in Clinton Hill," at a meeting held in the basement of the Willoughby Walk Co-Op Apartments near the post office this week.

"Even the post office is at risk of getting pushed out of this community," the congressman said. "I'm confident that this landlord saw an opportunity to make more money."

New landlords, Silverstone Development Group, will not renew The Pratt post office's lease and  requested that the post office vacate the space prior its lease expiration. Silverstone plans to develop a mixed-use apartment building in its place.

Local residents, many of whom are elderly, say they would be severely disadvantaged if the post office were to move too far. Around 40 people attended the meeting to voice their concerns, with some speaking of the need for the post office to pay bills and keep in touch with relatives.

USPS District Manager Frank Calabrese tried to ease their fears, saying he was "committed to finding a suitable location in the immediate vicinity," and promised the Postal Service would pay top dollar.

"We are on the same side here," he told residents. "But the challenge is to find a suitable facility in the area."

Calabrese said the USPS real estate division is looking at space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will also try renegotiating with its current landlords.

Jeffries was confident the post office would move to a nearby location.

"But we're not going to let Uncle Sam, in the form of the Post Office, be gentrified out of this community," he said.

The post office's lease ends in May 2014.