Steamboat Springs The future of the U.S. Postal Service location in the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center is in question after an apparent expansion of the Postal Service’s main downtown location and a breaking off of lease negotiations for the Sundance site.
Steamboat Springs Postmaster Tim O’Brien would not comment on the expansion when contacted Friday morning by phone, but he said a news release would be forthcoming in the next several days addressing the construction at the post office at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue and what that addition might mean for postal customers in Steamboat. O’Brien said any customers who would be impacted by any changes in service would be given a 30-day notice.
Bob Larson, who manages the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center, wouldn’t comment Friday on any specifics relative to the Postal Service’s lease of the Sundance location. He said the Postal Service’s lease expires sometime in 2013 and that he currently is not negotiating any extension for the space.
Larson said he had been working through the fall with a broker representing the Postal Service, but he said those talks ended abruptly when he was told by the broker that she no longer was representing the Postal Service.
“They gave me their terms, and I accepted them,” Larson said. “I’m not sure what happened.”
He said he has tried to reach out to Postal Service officials about the future of the Sundance location. Larson stressed that he has not been notified that the post office location will close at Sundance, but he also said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Postal Service doesn’t renew the lease after seeing the remodel at the downtown location.
The Postal Service previously has expressed a desire to close the Sundance location and consolidate the 2,500 post office boxes there to the main downtown location, which has more than 5,000 post office boxes. That plan drew criticism in 2009 from the Steamboat Springs City Council and community members who said such a plan posed a threat to public safety because of the increased traffic and congestion it would bring to Third Street and Lincoln Avenue, already one of the busiest intersections in the city.
At the time, Postal Service spokesman Al DeSarro said consolidating the Sundance location into the downtown post office always had been part of the plan.
While the Postal Service has kept the post office boxes at the Sundance location in place, it closed the retail service center there, meaning customers have to go to the downtown location for shipping needs and other mail services.
The Postal Service owns the building at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue where the downtown branch is located, including the half of the building previously occupied by the Coldwell Banker Silver Oak real estate firm. Coldwell Banker moved out in spring 2009 after its owners said the Postal Service refused to renew their lease.
Work has been done on the vacated half of the downtown building, and on Friday, a few post office boxes were visible hanging in brackets that appear poised to be filled with many additional boxes.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com