Capitol Hill post office finds a new Broadway home

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The Broadway Post Office will relocate one block north in January. (Image: CHS)

The Broadway Station building was purchased by developers way back in 2012 (Image: CHS)

The Broadway Station building was purchased by developers way back in 2012 (Image: CHS)

OfficeMax’s attempt to put a new spin on its paper-focused business didn’t last long at The Lyric on Broadway. Maybe the U.S. Postal Service will have better luck.

The hunt for a new location for the Broadway post office has come to an end as USPS plans to move one block north into the space vacated by OfficeMax early this year.

A USPS spokesperson tells CHS the new Broadway Station will be open sometime in January.

According to USPS, all the same postal services will be offered at the new location and PO Box customers will retain their box numbers and be able to use the same keys.

With the current Broadway Post Office slated for demolition to make way for a 6-story, mixed-used development, USPS began officially looking for a new Capitol Hill location in June. At the time, USPS said it was planning to move “to a yet to-be-determined location as close as reasonably possible to the existing location.” A USPS official told a City Council committee in May that the agency intended to find a longterm home.

With more than 5,000 square feet of retail area, the former OfficeMax space is small by box store standards but was likely too large for many independent retailers. USPS says it plans to occupy about 4,200 square feet of the space, leaving the potential for another small retailer to move in.

The Broadway OfficeMax was one of six nationwide “vector” stores — a smaller-format concept meant to target urban neighborhoods. The store opened in January 2014.

Unlike the Capitol Hill Station development across from the current post office, some of which will reach 85-feet high, the project planned to rise on the northwest corner of Broadway and Denny will be 65-feet tall, and will include 44 units, ground level retail and limited, four-stall surface parking accessed via the alley. There will be no underground parking for residents living across the street from one of the soon-to-be busiest public transportation hubs in the region.

Meanwhile, realtors for the the former post office site at 23rd and Union are hoping to set a record sale price for the MidTown Center property.

The new tenant for the Lyric fills one of the largest — but not longest running — gaps in Broadway commercial real estate. The large space formerly home to Castle Megastore remains empty. The former state liquor store location is still in search of a tenant following a fashion retailer’s abrupt exit. Another notorious empty space remains where the old Broadway Grill once called home. But it’s not all bleak, empty stretches, or outlandish landlord speculation — the former home of Charlie’s is lined up for a new project that will shape the space into a new form of its former glory.

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23 thoughts on “Capitol Hill post office finds a new Broadway home

  1. Actually the vacancies are very bleak and have gone on for far too long. With all the complaining on this site about Amazon kids moving up here, those same kids can’t seem to afford to shop on Broadway or every space would be filled. I don’t think people make Broadway a shopping destination like it was in the 80’s.

    • Some of the problem could be affordability of the merchandise, and some of it is most certainly that many people shop online. I think a larger cause of the problem is that Capitol Hill is no longer an appealing place for people to visit (those who like the club venues excluded). I lived on Capitol Hill for 17 years and loved it. When I could not afford a house on the Hill, I had to move to the CD. Prices were still somewhat accessible in the CD, and I wanted to be as close as possible to Capitol Hill. I visited the Hill frequently to do my shopping and occasionally dine in the restaurants, and it was great. Then the vibe of the neighborhood changed. It somehow managed to get both boring and more creepy. The only way I can describe it is that it got hollowed out. There is an abundance of apparently wealthy young tech people and a lot of people who are clearly struggling with homelessness or addition, but the group of people in the middle are largely gone. Their diversity made the neighborhood vibrant as they came from many age groups, backgrounds, and professions/occupations.

      Capitol Hill is also becoming visually unappealing. Yes, there were always run down buildings that needed to be torn down, but the replacements are not inspiring. Also, the green bike lane and street car tracks make for a cluttered and unattractive streetscape along Broadway.

      Finally, the Hill is not very accessible for people who don’t live there. The bus service from the surrounding neighborhoods is highly unreliable, even if one lives near a feasible bus line. Driving is not an option either.

      I no longer consider Capitol Hill unless I absolutely have to. I know some of my CD neighbors feel the same way.

      • I disagree about Capitol Hill becoming unattractive. I think there are many great and attractive changes. There are also many eclectic and interesting people and places. I am always surprised about this kind of talk when I see positive changes all around me.

      • I absolutely concur about Capitol Hill being not very accessible for nearby residents (such as the CD). It’s almost at the point (maybe already is) that it’s only convenient to eat/shop on Capitol Hill if you already live there, and can walk. Local neighborhoods like the CD have bus service, but when evening service becomes infrequent or even quits, CH becomes a not-attractive option for shopping and dining. On the bright side, that inaccessibility is spurring new options all over the CD that are closer and convenient for those of us who still need to depend on our cars.

      • I’ve lived on Capitol Hill for 20 years, and this is by far the most appealing it has ever looked. While I enjoyed my time in the 90’s up here immensely, I’m not nostalgic for empty supermarket and warehouse buildings.

  2. “A USPS spokesperson tells CHS the new Broadway Station will be open sometime in January.”

    Just in time for…the month after Christmas!

  3. The Broadway Grill vacancy is because of the owner of the property. Many people have tried to purchase it and the teriyaki place for development but the owners keep refusing. Not sure what they’re holding out for.

      • I’ve heard the problem with the former Broadway Grill is some kind of infrastructure problem that the last owner of the Grill was unknowingly inherited from the previous owner, and that it was too expensive to fix, making it undesirable for a new tenant to move in. Don’t quote me on that though, this is completely hearsay.

        I hope that Teriyaki and Wok never leaves. I love that place.

  4. I am curious if this will actually be a Capitol Hill Post Office. I live on 12th Ave. and my post office of record is on 23rd and Union.

    • There are multiple zip codes on the Hill, I believe only 98102 is served by the Capitol Hill Post Office. A lot of that has changed though with the consolidation of most sorting services etc. to the Lander Street facility in Sodo.

    • The Broadway branch is only a retail center now, not a home base for any mail carriers. This would presumably be true for the new Broadway branch as well.

      • I thought the Union/23rd Post Office closed and their PO Boxes had been moved to the Broadway post office. Or was that the 12th Ave PO Boxes that were moved?

      • The Union and 23rd post office is still there in a small retail shop across the parking lot. The PO boxes are not there now. I think those PO boxes moved to the bigger PO down near Home Depot, but I’m not sure. The mail sorting definitely happens down there now, and the carriers are based there now.

    • The Capitol Hill Post Office has always been that mysterious place where your undeliverable packages *don’t* go, even though you live on Capitol Hill.

  5. Glad the post office found such a good location. I will go there before the one on 23rd and Union which always has shady people hanging out around it.

  6. I am thrilled they will still be on the hill…and that they are taking an existing new space. It should be nice for customers and employees alike. Since I live at the north end of Broadway and walk south to the current PO, I am glad I no longer have to walk past Dick’s and Rite Aid! The smell at Dick’s is just horrid (I wonder if Dick’s will stay there surrounded by expensive apartments?)