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Historic Fort Worth Post Office For Sale?

By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – One of Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings could be for sale soon.

The U.S. Postal service said it wants to move out of its monolithic downtown post office.  The large columns outside are discolored, several of the iron based street lamps have their glass knocked out and there are nicks and paint peeling in the highly ornate ceiling tiles.  But people still gawk at the 80 year old building’s highly decorative architecture.

“I love it,” said post office visitor Rhonda Russell as her eyes scanned the lattice work along the walls.  “Its just absolutely gorgeous.  The marble and all the engravements. It’s just wonderful!”

The post office is a monumental civic building.  Built in 1933, it is ornate to the last detail. Decorate cow heads top the towering granite pillars out front.  The granite floors in the lobby have a carefully laid pattern of contrasting colors.  Even the light fixtures have lion heads on them with their bases shaped like massive lion paws.   But it is not a building the financially struggling postal service can afford.

In a letter to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price the post office wrote: “…upon further assessment and review of postal objectives, the Postal Service has made a determination to proceed with relocation of retail services.”

The postal service is planning to leave the building after 80 years.

“Its disappointing,” Russell said. “But hopefully someone will recognize the historical value and take it over.”

One of the people who sees a use for the building is Mayor Price. Can you picture the building as new city hall?

“Yeah, I can,” Mayor Price said.  “If we can make the numbers work on it, its a beautiful building and this is the end of town we want to develop, the Lancaster corridor.”

Fort Worth outgrew city hall years ago.  It now spends a million dollars a year to rent office space in other buildings.  That money could go to buying the post office.

But even an untrained eye knows there are problems with relocating to the old post office.

“How much integrity of the building can be kept and have it be useable?” post office admirer Lillian Velez wondered.  “And we all know security issues with someplace like city hall.  Where are you going to put the metal detectors? Are we going to have to take this out? Are we going to have to take that out?”

Whether the city buys the property or not, it wants to ensure the next owner HAS answered all the preservationb questions.

“Well, certainly we want to see the building preserved,” Mayor Price said.  “And I don’t have any other thing in mind specifically. But we really want to see it preserved because it really is a huge landmark for the city of Fort Worth.”

USPS could still change the decision if it receives enough public outcry in the next six months.  But Mayor Price and others believe the building could be on the market in about six months.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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