By this time next year, the Gig Harbor post office could be in a new location.
The U.S. Postal Service’s lease at 3118 Judson St. will not be renewed when it expires at the end of 2017.
Now the Postal Service is looking to relocate “preferably as close to where we are … because our customers are used to coming here,” spokesman Ernie Swanson said.
A public meeting to discuss the relocation will be Wednesday.
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“We would certainly welcome the input from our customers about what they think,” Swanson said of the pending move. “And perhaps if they know of a site in the area, to let us know and we could look into it.”
Three members of the family behind Tacoma’s Milgard Manufacturing own the strip mall where the post office is located. They live in Gig Harbor and want to redevelop the dated shopping center with residential and commercial uses.
The shopping center is anchored by 7 Seas Brewery, but not much else. QFC left the site in 2011, followed by Rexall the same year and Ace Hardware in 2015.
How it would be redeveloped hasn’t been decided, but the owners know the current use by the Postal Service would not compliment the multifamily housing that could be built, said Jon Rose, president of Olympic Property Group.
OPG, the real estate arm of timber company Pope Resources, is working with the owners on redeveloping the site.
After canvassing the neighborhood for three years to discuss redeveloping the “tired” strip mall, Rose said common complaints were about the trucking and distribution operations of the post office.
But people like having the post office close, he added.
Although the lease will not be renewed, an offer was extended to the Postal Service to keep retail services at the location. That includes post office boxes, package pickup and drop-off and retail sales.
Under a retail-only operation, mail carrier vehicles and large trucks wouldn’t come and go, although some trucks still would be necessary, Swanson said.
The Postal Service would prefer to keep its operations at one location for cost and convenience, but hasn’t ruled out the offer, he said.
In May, Olympic Property Group tested the public’s reaction to redevelopment of the shopping complex by unveiling different development scenarios. Each called for replacing the oldest section of the building with a 115-unit luxury apartment complex and underground parking.
Building heights ranged from two to five stories.
People gasped at the idea of a five-story apartment building downtown, which would require approval by the City Council, they but welcomed the transformation.
Some people at the meeting even went a step farther, asking Olympic Property Group to redevelop the entire site instead of the oldest half.
Those plans are being finalized and will be presented at another public meeting in early 2017, Rose said.
“People will see we have made room for the post office in our plans,” he said of a retail-only operation.
Gig Harbor Post Office relocation
What: Public meeting on the relocation of the post office at 3118 Judson St.
When: Wednesday, 5 p.m.
Where: Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St.