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Historic SaMo Post Office Will Be Sold Despite Landmark Issues

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As threatened last year, the US Postal Service announced it will be shutting and selling Santa Monica's 1938 post office at Fifth and Arizona, "probably in the next few months," said a spokesman. The building is one of an estimated 1,100 government-owned 1930s post offices. According to Patch, the locals who have objected to the post office's closure cited the building's architectural significance, but also "fear the site will be transformed into another mixed-use housing and commercial development." The New Deal-era building does not have landmark status, but Santa Monica's landmarking commission will discuss the post office at its April meeting, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, which goes on to explain why the building hasn't come up for debate yet, despite appearing for months on the commission's discussion list. It's quite a catch-22: going by the municipal code, Santa Monica can't be a "covenant holder"--that is responsible for protecting the historical aspects of the building--unless the building has landmark status.

But the landmarking commission believes that it can't grant landmark status while the building is owned by the federal government. This is the same rule that prevented the Venice post office (eventually bought by producer Joel Silver) from being designated a landmark, and why he signed a covenant agreeing to restore and preserve the building. It's thought that the Postal Service could apply for the designation, but it has not yet done so.
· Historic Post Office Will Close Soon [SM Patch]
· Downtown post office to close this summer [SMDP]