New Bangor post office search under way

CAPTION
The building of the 3rd District Court in Bangor will be up for rent when the court finishes it's move to the new Penobscot Judital Center. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre)   (WEB EDITION PHOTO)
BDN
CAPTION The building of the 3rd District Court in Bangor will be up for rent when the court finishes it's move to the new Penobscot Judital Center. (Bangor Daily News/Gabor Degre) (WEB EDITION PHOTO)
Posted Jan. 06, 2010, at 9:59 p.m.
&quotMiller's Restaurant at this location is ceasing its operation,"  owner John Miller said this week. The family-run resturant on Main Street in Bangor is closing after 55 yars. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN BENNETT)
BDN
"Miller's Restaurant at this location is ceasing its operation," owner John Miller said this week. The family-run resturant on Main Street in Bangor is closing after 55 yars. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN BENNETT)

BANGOR, Maine — Officials with the U.S. Postal Service have been in the city this week, touring possible locations for a new post office, including the former 3rd District Court, the former Miller’s Restaurant and empty space at the Bangor Daily News.

The postal service indicated in 2007 that it was looking to move from the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building on Harlow Street, but the process has taken more than two years and has been delayed at least twice.

Tom Rizzo, Maine spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said discussions about any potential locations are still preliminary and he would not confirm any specific possibilities.

However, Robert Stairs, vice president-treasurer of the Bangor Daily News, confirmed that the newspaper’s former printing press area at its Main Street location is under consideration.

Additionally, Penobscot County Commissioner Tom Davis confirmed that federal officials are interested in the 3rd District Court building on Hammond Street downtown. The former Miller’s Restaurant on Main Street, which temporarily housed Hollywood Slots until July 2008, has long been on the short list of possible locations.

In 2008, a parcel at the corner of Main and Railroad streets owned by the Quirk car dealership family was under consideration. Although there is a building on that property, a move there likely would require construction.

The current Bangor post office has been located in the Federal Building since the 1960s. In recent years, mail processing duties moved from that space to the U.S. Postal Service’s processing facility in Hampden.

More recently, the federal government launched a $53 million renovation project and requested that the post office vacate its space there by May 1. Rizzo said there is no timeline on the U.S. Postal Service’s decision on a new location.

In the past, post office officials have said that the current location on Harlow Street lacks adequate parking and is difficult for motorists and pedestrians to get to. Any new location likely would need to upgrade security measures as well.

The Bangor Daily News location has been empty since 1989 when the company built a new printing facility in Hampden. The BDN has not been active about renting or leasing it, according to Stairs.

“We’re not in the real estate business. We’re in the information business,” he said. “But they approached us and we’re listening.”

erussell@bangordailynews.net

990-8167

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