PLANT CITY — The Postal Service is hanging a “for sale” sign on the historic downtown post office.
The action comes as no big surprise - the 80-year-old building was closed two years ago over health and safety concerns that included mold and lead-based paint. Since then, the Postal Service has offered little hope that the building at 301 W. Reynolds St. would ever reopen.
Postal officials haven’t set on a price for the 16,402 square-foot building and 27,615 square-foot parking lot. The properties will be sold at market value, and an appraisal has yet to set the price tag, postal spokeswoman Enola C. Rice said.
Postal regulations call for the sale of the property so the agency couldn’t donate it or allow its free use, Rice said.
The building, across from City Hall, was Plant City’s only post office until a post office opened in 1996 off Alexander Street near James L. Redman Parkway. Postal officials closed the building June 27, 2013, after they said a routine inspection uncovered problems that included a leaky roof, water damage and asbestos. They estimated the cost of repairs at $1.4 million.
All postal services, including post office boxes, were moved two years ago to the Plant City Walden Woods Main Post Office, 2501 Walden Woods Drive.
The postal service apologized for the inconvenience but noted that the Walden Lake post office is only about 2 1⁄2 miles away.
Mayor Rick Lott said he was surprised it took so long for the old post office to hit the market because the longer a building sits, the more it deteriorates. He said he hopes a business such as a restaurant opens at the location.
“Hopefully, something very creative and positive comes out of this,” he said.