The Bronx General Post Office has been sold, but the new owners are keeping the development plans a mystery for the time being.
The iconic building at 149th Street and the Grand Concourse, with an estimated value of about $14 million, was recently purchased by developer Youngwoo & Associates, spokesman Adam Zucker confirmed, and development plans will be unveiled at a future date.
The firm previously presented a plan to turn the Kingsbridge Armory into a mixed-use marketplace, but lost out to the ice center. The developer is also known for developing Delkab Market in Brooklyn and the in-progress SuperPier in Manhattan.
Zucker said the developer intends to build upon the property’s legacy as a trophy of the Bronx and as an iconic gateway to the borough, supported by the site’s accessibility to Manhattan.
“Ripe with immediate potential, our plans include providing new amenities for the surrounding communities and continuing our core business of developing groundbreaking projects that will improve the quality of life and economic productivity of the borough,” said Zucker.
The developer is committed to preserving the landmarked building, as well the 13 landmarked depression-era murals by Ben Shahn and Bernarnda Bryson in the building’s lobby, said Zucker. The United States Post Office will also continue to have a retail presence in the building for the immediate future.
Historical preservation and loss of services were two components of the hotly protested sale.
Opponents included community members Congressman Jose Serrano, who said in a statement that the United States Postal Service sold one of the Bronx’s most important community and historic treasures in a completely irresponsible manner, disregarding voices of the community.
The borough president had expressed concerns that the building would be turned into a storage unit, but his office seems to be pleased by the building’s new owners.
“Our office has had several positive conversations with Youngwoo & Associates since the sale was announced, and we are excited to see that this company is so enthusiastic not just about the future of the Bronx General Post Office, but the future of our entire borough,” said John DeSio, communications director for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We plan to meet with the company in the coming weeks to have a greater discussion about their innovative ideas for this historic space.”
Community Board 4 members were frustrated by lack of community involvement in the sale of the building, said district manager Jose Rodriguez, but they are moving forward and are optimistic about the potential uses for the site. Many community leaders are interested in seeing the building become a place of recreation, entertainment and dining for families in the community, looking at the Chelsea Market and Eataly as concepts.
“We would love to have that in our district,” he said.
Whatever the ultimate vision is for the building, Rodriguez said he hopes the community will be involved in the planning process.
“We hope they give us the opportunity to have that conversation,” said Rodriguez.