BANGOR, Maine — Work has begun at a storefront in the Broadway Shopping Center to convert it for use as the temporary location for the Bangor post office.
The post office must leave its location in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building on Harlow Street by the end of May, when its lease expires, according to Thomas Rizzo, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
It is expected to move to Broadway Shopping Center over Memorial Day weekend and be open for business on Tuesday, June 1.
Efforts to confirm the location with the postal service were unsuccessful Tuesday.
The Penobscot County commissioners said earlier this month that the post office would move to the shopping center temporarily while renovations to its new permanent home — the former Bangor District Court building on Hammond Street — were completed.
The post office must vacate the federal building because of a planned $53 million renovation there. Details about how the federal stimulus funds appropriated for that project will be spent have not been released.
The post office is scheduled to occupy its new permanent location this fall, County Administrator William Collins said earlier this month.
In addition to the post office, the offices of the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross will move in June into the old District Court space. The Red Cross, which is separate from the organization’s blood collection operation at 900B Hammond St., now is located on Target Industrial Circle off outer Hammond Street.
The Red Cross will rent about 4,500 square feet of space closest to Hammond Street. The post office will use about 6,000 square feet at the end of the building nearest the Penobscot County Jail.
Although Penobscot County and the postal service have not yet signed a lease, Collins has said, he expects the post office to move in within four months of an agreement being signed.
Renovations to the District Court building are estimated to cost $100,000, Collins said. Rental income from the Red Cross and the postal service is expected to generate more than $100,000 a year.
The Bangor Planning Board on March 24 approved a site plan for the former District Court site after initially turning down the request the previous month.
Much of the District Court building has been empty since November, when the Superior and District courts were consolidated in the new Penobscot Judicial Center on Exchange Street. The Maine judiciary paid the county $140,000 in rent a year for the space.
Maine probation offices have remained and plan to remain on the ground floor of the former District Court building, which faces Franklin Street.
The 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.