Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Southwest Has Two (Several) Post Offices, but for How Long?

According to the Washington Business Journal, the Southwest Station Post Office at 45 L Street is one of 19 post offices in the District that's slated to possibly close due to financial difficulties at the United States Postal Service (USPS).  The USPS leases the 16,200 SF space at 45 L from The Ruben Companies, the same developer that owns several parcels in the area, including 1101 South Capitol Street (where a KFC/Taco Bell once stood), and the former Exxon gas station on the same block as the post office, the sale of which JDLand posted earlier this month. The current post office lease at 45 L expires at the end of 2012. There's no indication of what would replace the post office after that date, but 1101 South Capitol Street across the street is planned as an office building.

There is a second post office in Southwest, located in L'Enfant Plaza's retail center adjacent to USPS headquarters.  However, it is a much smaller storefront (about 8,500 SF) and is only open on weekdays.  With the prospect of the 45 L Street station closing and the ongoing renovation at the retail center, perhaps the L'Enfant Plaza Post Office will remain open on Saturdays. The current L'Enfant Plaza post office is located near the entrance to the retail center off of the plaza on 10th Street, but isn't easily accessible for those with disabilities (that may change once a glass atrium entryway is built on the plaza that is part of JBG's renovation of the retail center). The new post office will be about the same size as the current one and will shift more to the east from its current location. Parking is more of a challenge at L'Enfant compared to the 45 L Street location.  There is metered parking on 10th Street, but during the day those spaces are mostly full. Having the only post office in the neighborhood at L'Enfant Plaza will force Southwesters to patronize the area more so than they do now (or not, since I only go to the post office on average about once a year).

The red X marks where the post office will be located.  The red circle shows phase one of the retail renovation, or the food court, that was completed this spring.  The red arrow shows the entrance to the food court from the HUD courtyard.

Above renderings of the glass entryway to the L'Enfant Plaza retail center and floorplan courtesy of SmithGroup

Update: As commenters have noted, there are more than two post offices in Southwest.  Besides the Fort McNair, NASA, and Ford Building, there are post offices at the Department of Agriculture and the Rayburn Building - maybe more.  However, these post offices primarily serve those who work in those buildings or military bases, since it's cumbersome for regular folks to walk in to these facilities. The Ford, Rayburn, and Department of Agriculture post offices are slated to close.


Blake Ourso said...

haha, as slow as they are we actually need to add another!(took me thirty minutes to pick up a package)

Marc said...

There is (was?) a THIRD post office in Southwest, believe it or not -- I'm going there today, so if it has perchance closed, I will find out. It is in the Congressional office building between: D and E, 2nd/3rd Streets SW near Federal Center SW Metro station. It is only open to the public on weekdays, and you have to go through a metal detector and bag scan to get in there, but it is open to the public, unless it has closed. FYI.

DHDC said...

Isn't there a post office at Ft. McNair?

Stacy said...

I asked once (when going to the fort for twilight tattoo) if civilians could use their post office and was given a vague "well, we can't keep anyone out but we really prefer not..." kind of answer.

There is also a post office and an ATM in the NASA building at 4th & D.

Marc said...

I can now confirm that there is a post office open to the public. where I previously mentioned. It is open Monday to Friday, 9–5

Stacy, didn't know about the one at NASA... Thanks for the tip!

west156th said...

Appreciate the drawing illustrating the location of the Post Office in the renovated L'Enfant Plaza retail center, however the red X is just that.

It would have been helpful to read the plan, if a red arrow was placed at the point of entry to L'Enfant Plaza or street name was provided. I'm assuming the roadway in the right of the drawing is 395?

SWill said...

west156th: The retail center floorplan has been updated with some more information to help orient readers where everything is located. I-395 doesn't run through L'Enfant Plaza. That would be the 9th Street tunnel.