The 1930s-era post office on Central Avenue and Van Buren Street is preparing to undergo at least $2 million in renovation by its owner, Arizona State University, in collaboration with the city of Phoenix.
As New Times writer Robrt L. Pela explained a few months ago, the stylish building was purchased a few years back by ASU as part of its downtown campus development. Although the post office will still operate out of the facility, plans call for adding retail, classroom and activity space.
From an article from ASU's Devil's Apprentice:
"The current plan for the post office is to open up the first floor to the Civic Space and create a variety of spaces that could be used by both the public and the university," [said Anne Gazzaniga of the Office of the University Planner].
ASU is currently working on a budget for the remodeling of the post office; working with $2 million for the first phase of remodeling. Currently, the first phase is the only part of the plan in negotiations, other phases will be discussed later in the future.
Hmm -- this sounds much different than the type of changes planned when Pela spoke to the United States Post Office back in January:
After the university moved in, the only change made was the shifting of local carrier service from downtown to a nearby branch at 14th Street and Buckeye. And the only future modifications ASU has planned are designed to benefit postal customers, not to alter or deface the interior of this historic structure.
"The window section will probably get new counters," [USPS spokeswoman Donna] Spini mused, "and we've asked for a handicap stall for visitors who are doing business from a wheelchair."
ASU has also approved every restoration effort the postal service has requested, even agreeing not to pull out my fave vintage glass-front postal boxes, despite ASU's fears that the little windows promote identity theft.
"It seems like the stars are all coming together on this project," Spini says. "ASU is backing us on our plan to keep the post office here in all its original beauty. Sometimes, you can have your cake and eat it, too."
It sounds like this cake will be slathered with too much frosting.