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Postal Service Abandons Plan to Sell Historic Chelsea Post Office, Pols Say

By Mathew Katz | November 25, 2013 8:59am
 The U.S. Postal Service abandoned a plan to sell Old Chelsea Station on West 18th Street.
The U.S. Postal Service abandoned a plan to sell Old Chelsea Station on West 18th Street.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — The United States Postal Service has quietly abandoned a controversial plan to sell a beloved post office on West 18th Street, politicians who learned of the change told DNAinfo New York.

According to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, one of the politicians who fought against the controversial sale, the Postal Service has given up on selling the Old Chelsea Station at 217 W. 18th St. as a way of raising much-needed cash.

"I am thankful that after the completion of the public review process, USPS has taken these concerns into consideration and is now exploring options that do not include selling off this historic community asset," Nadler said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if the Postal Service is now considering closing a portion of the historic post office to lease some of the space, a move the Postal Service had discussed in the past.

The USPS did not respond to a request for comment.

The plan to sell the 41,600-square-foot, two-story Colonial Revival building drew widespread ire from residents who found out about it through a densely worded notice at the building's entrance. Local politicians were not notified of the proposed sale until after it was first reported by DNAinfo in February.

The Postal Service is still hurting from a $15.9 billion net lost last year, and has attempted to sell several buildings across the city, including a landmarked post office in The Bronx, in the hopes of saving cash.

The Old Chelsea Station building likely would have sold for a substantial sum in the pricey neighborhood. After news broke that the USPS wanted to sell the building, dozens of high-end brokers and real estate investors got in touch with DNAinfo hoping to get more information about the potential sale.

Built in 1937, the building landed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and is beloved both by the neighborhood's many seniors and the business owners who use mailboxes there.

Enraged that the USPS gave little public notification about the plan to sell the building, local politicians eventually convinced the agency to hold a public meeting on the proposal in April, which grew heated

"I'm gratified that the U.S. Post Office came to the same conclusion that the community knew all along — that it didn't make sense to sell a great public asset like that to the highest bidder," said state Sen. Brad Hoylman. "It's a big win for Chelsea."