Sometime next spring, the landmarked Bronx General Post Office, located in the borough’s Concourse Village neighborhood, will start a new life as retail, office space, and a restaurant. Interior demolition work is underway and we got a peak inside last week, with Brendan Murray, vice president at Hollister Construction Services, and he pointed out an incredibly creepy aspect of the building’s history.
The post office, located at the northeast corner with East 149th Street, was completed in 1937. It was designed by Thomas Harlan Ellett. Its exterior was designated an individual landmark by the city in 1975. Interior landmark designations, including the 13 New Deal-era murals, followed in 2013.
In 2014, Young Woo & Associates purchased the building for $19 million. They, along with the Bristol Group, are transforming the structure into a mix of functions. There will be a market, retail, and a small post office on the ground and main floors. The ground floor fronts on Anthony J. Griffin Place. The main floor fronts on Grand Concourse. The second and third floors will be office space and the roof will be home to a restaurant. A beer garden was presented as a possibility in January of 2015.
Retail space will occupy approximately 63,842 square feet, office space will occupy approximately 104,809 square feet, and the restaurant will occupy approximately 6,665 square feet.
As it is a landmark, those proposals had to be approved at three separate sessions of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The transformation is being designed by Manhattan-based Studio V Architecture, working with preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners.
While it’s still about a year away from opening, our visit was perfectly timed to get a last look at some of the building’s history.
We started out tour on the ground floor just inside the loading dock that will mostly become the entrance and lobby for the office space. Inside will be retail space. It’s a large space, but some of the spaces above are even larger.
Here on the main floor, also future retail space, was the sorting area. You can see the exposed remnants of a catwalk. This is where things get really creepy. If you look about two-thirds of the way up, you can see the exposed skeleton of a catwalk.
In this photograph, you can see if a different section and, if you look closely, you can see a door used to enter the catwalk. Note the black wall. This catwalk system was enclosed so that postal inspectors could inspect sorters without their knowledge. We’re told there was once a problem of mail theft.
The size and light level of the future office space is quite impressive. While multiple tenants are expected, one tenant with an open floorplan would probably have more space than any trading floor on Wall Street.
When the revamped building opens next year, it will be convenient to mass transit. It is right across the street from the 149 St-Grand Concourse stop on the 2, 5, and 4 trains and buses stop right out front.