Oh yes, build a hi-rise Mr. Postman

mr-zip.JPGWill Wynn is close to dislodging another barrier en route to achieving 25,000 downtown residents. This barrier comes in the shape of the large, fat, and bland post office that currently squats on the city block between 5th and 6th at Guadalupe. According to the Statesman, the Postal Service is currently accepting proposals to redevelop its site, so long as a post office is included in the design. Odds are, it’ll result in some sorta high rise-residential / mixed-use development, unless of course somebody wants to give Marriott a run for their money with more bland hotel space.

Redevelop the post office eh? Let me consult my “Reactionary South Austin Anti-Development Checklist” to see if I can support this project …

  1. Is it north of the river? Yes. (+1)
  2. Is it in the DMU CBD? Yes. (+1)
  3. Does it threaten the cozy single-family character of my South Austin neighborhood? No. (+1)
  4. Does it limit my ability to eat Migas and/or breakfast tacos? No. (+1)
  5. Does it provide a windfall for former city officials? No. (+1)
  6. Is it part of Hector Ruiz’s diabolical plan to destroy Barton Springs? Unlikely. (+1)
  7. Does it keep Austin weird? No, but I’m sure the developers will make a t-shirt saying so. (0)
  8. Does it preserve the character of West 5th? Yes, it will fit right in with the assness of Fox & Hound. (0)
  9. Does it ease my property tax burden? Yes. Somebody call me when this ever actually happens. (+.5)
  10. Does it promote affordable housing? Yes, overpriced lofts are no less unaffordable than no lofts. (+.5)

So, the post office redevelopment scores a respectable 7 out of 10 possible points on the checklist. Not bad, it actually sounds pretty desirable. Unfortunately, neighborhood by-laws state that new development is required to achieve a score of 15 in order to gain acceptance.

3 Comments so far

  1. M Sinclair Stevens (unregistered) on August 4th, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    Anything would be an improvement over that post office. It seemed purposely developed to be a white concrete eyesore. (Compare it with the PO on Lamar south of 38th street or even the PO on South Congress north of Ben White–post offices can look better.) As a one story building with half the lot devoted to parking it’s a tremendous waste of space. It’s not pleasant even to walk by it.

    Wasn’t security the Feds excuse for the prison block design and the lack of landscaping? San Francisco has post offices in the basements of department stores and on the first floors of large office buildings. Why can’t we?

  2. wae (unregistered) on August 4th, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    Other than ample parking, the current post office has almost nothing going for it. Besides being ugly, it has crappy hours for a downtown facility, and has been out of basic supplies when I’ve tried to buy shipping and postage items there. Ugh.

    This seems like one of the better opportunities for true mixed use in downtown, if we could get useful stores (i.e. something other than a restaurant or upscale clothier) to complement the walk-in post office.

  3. M1EK (unregistered) on August 4th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    The Lamar/38th one is just as bad from a functional perspective – it’s just in a smaller spot. Has the same problem of catering to automobile users while forgetting that a heck of a lot of people in the area might actually want to walk in.

    And good work on #10. That sums up more succinctly than I ever have the bare minimum reason why opposing downtown development on affordability grounds is stupid.

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