Post Office picks former grocery store facility for new downtown Eau Claire location

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The U.S. Postal Service is now planning to move about three blocks away from its current North Barstow Street location in downtown Eau Claire.

The postal service says it reviewed multiple sites, and chose a property on the 200 block of E. Madison Street. In a letter to Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid dated April 28, it says that the postal service believes the Madison Street location "will provide the community with an upgraded, modern facility that offers a safe working environment for our employees and the level of service expected by our customers."

It's unclear exactly when the U.S. Postal Service decided on the E. Madison Street location. "We've been talking for a while and looking at sites," said Pete Nowacki with the postal service. "In the last week, we've decided to go forward with it."

The letter also says the city can appeal the decision within 30 days. When WEAU 13 News asked Eau Claire City Manager Russell Van Gompel about whether the city would comment or appeal the decision, he said "Not certain. I don't foresee any reason why we would object."

"To me, it kind of makes some sense," he added.

Nowacki says the postal service has not set a date for when it plans to move. It also does not have a signed lease from the property owner, but Nowacki says it is working with the property owner to finalize a deal.

In December 2013, the postal service said it expected to move in October of this year. The current lease at the North Barstow Street building ends on September 30. In November 2013, the Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority bought the building that the postal service leases on North Barstow Street from the Gateway Industrial Park Corporation for nearly $350,000.

Van Gompel says the postal service has to finalize a lease and schedule some improvements to the Madison Street facility. The property houses a storefront that was Charly's Market, a 4,200-square-foot grocery store. The store opened in May 2012, and closed in 2013.

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