Future site of Dover Post Office narrowed down to two locations

DOVER — The U.S. Postal Service has identified a pair of potential locations for a new post office facility in Dover that are currently under review.

Ray Daiutolo Sr., who works at U.S. Postal Service corporate communications, said the city informed the South Jersey District earlier this year that it wasn’t going to renew their lease when it expires in 2020 on the property at the current location, 55 Loockerman Plaza.

That sent the wheels spinning into motion for the USPS to find a new home for the Dover Post Office.

“We have identified two potential options that are now under review — 350 South Queen Street (combined retail and carrier operations) and two other sites for a split setup, retail at 50 North DuPont Highway and carrier operations at 650 South Bay Road,” Mr. Daiutolo said.

“We are moving forward with the planning process and additional due diligence on the preferred options.”

The proposed Queen Street spot is the former location of the Chesapeake Utilities offices, located across the street from the Dover Police Department.

The other proposed split location would feature a retail center at the Capital Station shopping complex, which is currently under construction at the now-demolished former Playtex site off U.S. 13, with postal carrier operations to take place at the vacant former Value City building in the Bay Court Plaza.

The current post office in Dover.

Richard Hancock, a real estate specialist with the U.S. Postal Service, explained the primary reason why the post office is seeking to relocate at a Dover City Council meeting on June 11.

“The city owns the property,” Mr. Hancock said. “We own the building. The lease expires (in March 2020). The city wants to do something else with the property.

“We’re working with the city right now on different options together. This is a team. We’re looking for the best interests.”

One thing Mr. Hancock made clear at the city council meeting in June, the USPS would have no role in the future of the old post office location once it is vacated.

“We do own the building and just like any building that’s on a ground lease when the ground lease is over, the building stays,” he said. “We’re not going to pick it up. We could technically pick it up, but we’re not going to pick up the building and move it.

“Whatever we need from it, we own. The building itself does not have value because we don’t control the land.”

That’s the primary reason why City Councilman Fred Neil said the USPS and city of Dover could both benefit from the post office relocation.

“I would prefer a downtown location to draw people to the revitalized area we are creating, which the post office would be a significant part,” Mr. Neil said.

“I believe the city administration is working with post office officials as we seek a location for a parking garage and a new City Hall or municipal complex.”

The timeline for the U.S. Postal Service moving into a new location in Dover remains uncertain, but progress is being made.

“I don’t know what our timeline is,” Mr. Hancock said. “The city is working with us and looking. We have a lot of different options, there’s a lot of different things out there and it’s going to take time, but once we make a decision of what direction we’re going, then there’s securing that particular deal.”

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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