Postal Service Considering Downsizing Reading Post Office on Haven Street
Possibly moving mail carriers into the Maguire Post Office in Woburn; keeping small retail space here.
The Reading Post Office, which has called Haven Street home for almost 100 years, may be moving mail carriers to the post office facility on Washington Street, just over the Woburn line and retail postal services to a much smaller space in the Haven Street area.
As a cost-cutting measure, the US Postal Service is trying to find postal buildings with excess space and using that space, according to Project Coordinator for the Greater Boston Postal District Mike Foley.
“Our goal is to use excess space,” Foley told Patch Tuesday, “and downsize where we should.”
There’s space in the Maguire Post Office on Washington Street in Woburn for the carriers, Foley said.
So the postal service is working to find out how much its Reading property is worth.
Within one to three months, the property should be listed for sale on a commercial real estate database, Foley said.
Nothing will change at the post office here, Foley said, "until arrangements are made to dispose of the building." Another community is thinking of buying the post office there, Foley said, for Town Hall space and the post office is negotiating, he said, to see if it can stay as a tenant in a small part of the space.
The postal service has no deadline to sell the Reading building, Foley said.
For the amount of business the Reading site sees, the postal service would be looking for about 1,500 square feet, plus or minus, Foley said, of retail space.
As a business, the postal service has lost mail volume, Foley said, prompting moves to cut costs. Since 2006, first class mail volume is down approximately 25 percent, according to Foley. First class mail volume peaked in 2005 at 98 billion pieces; in 2011, it dropped to 73.5 billion pieces.
Total mail volume has also declined, according to Foley.
"In 2006, we processed and delivered about 213 billion pieces of mail. In 2011 that number dropped to 168 billion pieces," he said.
A study on optimizing postal service space was done earlier this year, according to Foley, then sent to Boston to be evaluated. The study has to go from the manager in Connecticut to Washington, D.C., Foley said, “for the final sign off.” Then, Foley said, the real estate asset management department would find out what the property is worth.
"When recommendations such as the one involving the Reading Post Office are set in action, they will provide us with an opportunity to provide real savings for postal operations in our area," Foley said. "With little to no impact on customer service."
Post office employees were notified several weeks ago, in mid-June, about their possible move, according to Foley. All changes would be made in accordance with collective bargaining, he noted. About 29 to 30 carriers would move to Woburn, Foley said, along with a few clerks, if the downsizing occurs. Between two and four clerks would stay in a Reading facility. Foley said he sees no change coming in the downtown Woburn post office.