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Iconic Fort Worth Post Office Could Soon Close

Texas Eagle
Fort Worth's giant post office on Lancaster opened on Washington's Birthday, 1933. It stands on the south side near two other iconic structures, the Texas and Pacific Railroad Staton and Warehouse

The U.S. Postal Service is a step closer to leaving its landmark Lancaster Avenue post office in downtown Fort Worth. The building is among several iconic structures on the city’s south side.

The move is no surprise. The building’s been on the market a while, as the U.S. Postal Service has struggled with billions in annual losses.

Andy Taft, President of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. says the post office, an official state landmark, is appreciated by developers, too.

He says the chance of destruction is zero.

“Because it’s too valuable," Taft said. "And frankly, I think the market has responded to the news that it’s finally been put on the market very positively. I know there are a number of developers that are gathering information about the building and are preparing themselves to make proposals.”

Sevanne Steiner, in the city of Fort Worth’s preservation division, says the post office is the south side’s answer to the 1895 courthouse farther north up Main Street.  

“Those are two iconic buildings that definitely bookend downtown," Steiner said.

The post office is one in a trio of structures that includes the old Texas and Pacific Station and warehouse. In a letter to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, the postal service says it wants to find another retail space in the same zip code.

Citizens have 30 days to comment on the plan. Appeals may be sent to: Vice President, Facilities c/o Facilities Implementation PO Box 667180, Dallas, TX 75266.

Learn more about the building at the Save the Post Officewebsite or at Architecture in Fort Worth.

The 1933 beaux-arts/classical revival structure, which includes 16 classical limestone columns, was designed by local architect Wyatt C. Hedrick, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says.

The Star-Telegram reports:

The post office building has been considered as a new city hall since 2004, with the city spending $200,000 in 2009 to study the idea and even entering negotiations with the Postal Service. [Fort Worth Mayor Betsy] Price said the city manager’s office has renewed looking at “the numbers,” including analyzing the space the city needs to rent now, since the main City Hall building is too small. Price, who recalls coming and going from the post office as a child, said the building is valuable to Fort Worth. “Everyone went in and out of those grand staircases and mailed their packages and letters there,” Price remembered. “It has been around for forever and it is just a beautiful building.” Still, Price said the numbers “have to work.” The Tarrant County Appraisal District valued the land at $3.53 million and the building at $2.65 million, for a total of $6.1 million in 2013.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.