June 26, 2012
By Doug Oakley
Bay Area News Group
The U.S. Postal Service is selling a 98-year-old landmark building in downtown Berkeley as part of a nationwide cost-cutting program that includes the sale of 81 other buildings and 27 pieces of land.
The postal service hopes to open another storefront in the neighborhood after the building is sold. No buyer or even a price has been named, spokesman Gus Ruiz said.
The 57,200-square-foot building, at 2000 Allston Way, was built in 1914 and was designed by architect Oscar Wendorth. It is a Berkeley landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. According to a plaque on the front, the building represents the neoclassical renaissance revival style with classical motifs throughout, with columns and terra cotta arches in front and a 1936 mural inside that depicts figures from California's Spanish and pioneer history.
Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin, whose district includes the post office, called the upcoming sale "unfortunate" because the post office is one of the most heavily used in the city.
"We've already closed two or three in the city, and the people in those neighborhoods opposed the closures," Arreguin said. "I understand the postal service is facing very difficult budgetary issues. I'm glad to hear they are going to continue retail operations downtown, but it would be really unfortunate if it was demolished."
The building takes up an entire city block and is bounded by Allston Way, Milvia Street and Kittredge Street.
"We're doing everything we can to contain our costs, and selling buildings is one of the things we can do to contain our infrastructure costs," Ruiz said.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408.