Landlords could submit bids for a downtown Norwich postal station

Norwich - If the U.S. Postal Service sells the Main Street building, downtown landlords would have the chance to submit competitive bids for a contracted postal station to continue the service's presence downtown.

Postal Service spokeswoman Maureen Marion said that while postal officials discussed with Norwich officials Wednesday a proposal that Otis Library host a postal station, the federal agency would have to open the process to bidding.

The prospects of keeping a downtown postal service presence was the main focus of Wednesday's meeting, as city officials objected to the plan to move the Norwich post office to the distribution center on Salem Turnpike near the Bozrah border.

City officials at Wednesday's meeting were pleased that postal officials were receptive to the idea of opening a postal station downtown in addition to the planned Salem Turnpike post office.

Marion said Wednesday's meeting included a discussion on the differences between a contracted site and a full-scale post office. Contracted units are staffed by the holder of the contract, rather than postal employees. A contract unit can offer almost all services of a regular post office except passports and money orders.

"It was noted that the library already provides passport services and it was stated that this was compatible with the other postal services in a contracted site," Marion said. "So, while there was a lot of discussion on the concept of a contracted postal site, let me be clear that the competitive nature of bidding prohibits us from suggesting that any location has an advantage in that process."

There are no plans to close the Main Street post office building or seek bids for a contracted station until there is a buyer, Marion said, and so far, no one has expressed interest in the historic 1903 building.

The Norwich post office building is one of four Connecticut post offices listed for sale on a website dedicated to postal service property listings by CBRE, the exclusive real-estate agent marketing postal-owned properties, www.uspspropertiesforsale.com. The others are in Norwalk, Derby and Stamford.

c.bessette@theday.com

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