Construction is well underway at the Bronx Post Office, which is in the midst of a transformation into a retail, commercial, and community hub. The project's developers, Youngwoo & Associates and the Bristol Group, have enlisted Hollister Construction Services to transform the post office building, which first opened in 1937. Curbed spoke with Brendan Murray, the vice president of construction at Hollister, to check in with how things were progressing.
One of the biggest challenges for the team, which previously worked to restore the Staten Island Lighthouse Museum, has been working with the post office's landmarked lobby (the exterior is a landmark as well). Perhaps the most iconic features are the 13 murals created by Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn in the 1930s. Each of those will be restored and preserved when the post office building is transformed into its new iteration, Bronx Post Place. In fact, Hollister even asked the original company that worked on the lobby's flooring to restore it back to its former glory.
Another hurdle, though slightly less glamorous, concerns electrical wiring. When the building was first constructed, mail was all distributed by hand. The mechanization of the post office in subsequent years wasn't the most efficient undertaking, so modernizing the space has been another tricky aspect. That being said, the current post office's services have not been disrupted through the construction. They've relocated to a different space within the building so their work can continue uninterrupted while Hollister works to create their new, albeit smaller space in the building.
So, what are the planned changes for the building?
The building will feature a mix of offices, retail, and restaurants, but the developers don't want to go into the details of it just yet, as plans may vary slightly as construction progresses.
As part of an effort to cut costs and get rid of excessive inventory, the United States Postal Service decided to sell several of its buildings across the country. Youngwoo & Associates purchased the Bronx building in 2014 for $19 million, and has hired Studio V Architecture as the design firm. Higgins Quasebarth & Partners are overseeing the historic preservation aspect of the building.
Once Hollister wraps up its work in November, prospective tenants will have a chance to get their spaces ready, and the new building is anticipated to open sometime next year.
UPDATE: A previous version of this article went into details about how the floorspace will be divided. That information has yet to be finalized. In addition the article previously stated a spring 2017 opening, but the exact time has yet to be determined.