Chattanooga post office prepares to shut down
A Chattanooga post office is preparing to shut down. But the building's landlord said she's parting ways with the United States Postal Service on bad terms.
The East Lake Station Post Office has been around for 30 years and regulars say they're sad to see it go.
"We will miss it when it's gone 'cause this is where I come to do all my stamps and do my mail," said Evelyn Moore.
Moore needs to find a new place to mail her letters. She's been coming to the East Lake Station Post Office a few times a week for 15 years.
"Since this is right around the corner from me, it's convenient to get my mail here than to go way around to somewhere else," she said.
But come Saturday, she has no option. Signs on the front door clearly read the USPS "couldn't come to financial terms with the landlord."
So it's shutting down the post office on 34th Street and moving business to other local locations.
Texas-based landlord Janis Green said it came as a surprise to her.
"They were gonna give me basically no notice," she said.
Green shared an email from a USPS representative that showed three options for the new lease
Green said the USPS had always signed five year deals to work in her building but said she understood that under financial constraints, a one-year lease with the USPS is more reasonable. So, she said, they agreed to write up a one-year lease extension.
"It was back and forth as many real estate negotiations are. We made an offer, they made a counter offer, we accepted and we thought we were done," Green said.
Two weeks ago, she said she had the lease agreement on her desk: a new term beginning 9/1/2013 and ending 8/31/2014 at an annual rent of $50,600. Green said that's $3,700 less than last year's rent.
Green said she signed the lease and sent it off to USPS seven days ago but that a signature from USPS officials to honor the lease never showed up. USPS wouldn't comment on specifics to the contract.
"The Postal Service could not come to financial terms with the lessor," said Chattanooga Postmaster Pete Dechelle in a news release. "Due to the financial constraints under which the USPS is operating, we're going to emergency suspend this facility."
"I gotta think there's a chance that they'll stay that they'll honor their proposal to me," she said.
"I'd like for it to stay so we can continue to get our mail right here," said Moore.
Green and Moore both want to see an agreement worked out between now and Saturday, but a USPS representative told Channel 3 that's not happening and the lease won't be renewed.
The USPS said operations will be relocated to Chattanooga South Station on W. 40th St.
The Postal Service's operating expenses aren't funded by tax dollars, relying instead on sales of postage, products and services.