After hearing pleas from city officials and residents, the U.S. Postal Service will keep its post office Downtown when it permanently moves from the landmark Madison Municipal Building, which is closing for a $30 million renovation this fall.
The Postal Service this week signed a five-year lease to relocate to 3,800 square feet on the first floor of the Manchester Building, 2 E. Mifflin St., on Oct. 1, city officials and the building manager confirmed on Wednesday.
“It’s a done deal,” city real estate agent Kris Koval said, adding that all current postal services and post office boxes will be relocated to the new site on Capitol Square. “We’re keeping them in the Capitol area.”
Mayor Paul Soglin said the agreement is good news for residents, international students and faculty at UW-Madison and hundreds of Downtown businesses that use the central post office every day to send or pick up documents, packages and make other transactions.
“This has worked out nicely,” he said.
Don Brumm, a manager for the Manchester Building, said the post office will have a separate entrance on Mifflin Street and patrons will have access to parking behind the structure. “It seemed like a good fit for them,” he said. “It’s probably the most accessible part of the Square. We’re glad to do it.”
Initially, the Postal Service targeted its relocation to the QTI Group building on the 700 block of East Washington Avenue, but city officials protested and presented two Downtown alternatives — the Manchester Building and the former AT&T building, 315 W. Washington Ave.
Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, had said of the potential move: “I certainly don’t consider the 700 block of East Washington Avenue to be Downtown. It would be a tremendous inconvenience. And symbolically, the Downtown of a state Capitol deserves a post office.”
Verveer was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
“We are thrilled that the post office will remain in the Downtown business district,” Jeff Vercauteren, president of Capitol Neighborhoods Inc., said on Wednesday.
The Municipal Building, built in the late 1920s, was initially a federal courthouse and post office and acquired by the city in 1979.
It is home to multiple city services. In 2005, the U.S. Congress designated the post office there as the Robert M. La Follette Sr. Post Office.
The $30 million, two-year renovation, which will also require relocation of city offices to other Downtown sites, is scheduled to begin in the late fall.
The city will move all city agencies during the renovation to rented space at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum building, 30 W. Mifflin St., and the former AnchorBank annex building at 126. S. Hamilton St.
The Madison Credit Union will leave during renovations but return when the Municipal Building reopens.