Downtown Princeton Post Office Move Delayed Until Nov. 9

The Palmer Square Post Office
The Palmer Square Post Office

The U.S. Post Office on Palmer Square will stay open until early November, a postal service official confirmed Tuesday night.

Previously a postcard went out to residents informing them that the new post office at 259 Nassau Street would open on Sept. 21.

But a postal worker told Planet Princeton that the move has been delayed until Nov. 9 because more work needs to be done on the parking lot at the new location, which is located at the former site of the West Coast Video. The post office will share space with the new 7-Eleven.

The sale of the historic post office has not been finalized, but the buyer has been selected, Greg Lackey of the U.S. Postal Service confirmed on Tuesday night at the Princeton Council meeting. The buyer can still pull out of the deal, Lackey said, adding that a tenant for the site has not been selected, but that the post office will be either a retail business or a restaurant.  Several other historic post offices recently have been turned into restaurants with a postal theme.

The buyer selected for the Palmer Square site is called LCOR Ventures, and is based in Oakland, California. The sale was initially blocked by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, a branch of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, because state officials believed the U.S. Postal Service had not taken adequate steps to ensure the post office’s history would be preserved.

The Palmer Square post office was built in 1937. The mural  created in 1939 entitled “America Under the Palms” by Karl Free is controversial because of the way it depicts Native Americans cowering under the symbols of American expansion. Lackey said the mural was recently cleaned and will be preserved at the site. The U.S. Postal Service has preserved or restored many murals as part of recent post office sales. Lackey said post office murals make up the federal government’s largest art collection.

Princeton governing body members will vote at the next council meeting on an ordinance that would grant easements for the Palmer Square property. The town has not has the value of the easements assessed by an independent assessor. The U.S. Postal Service has proposed paying the town $10,000 for the easements. The town lawyer said the payment would cover legal fees associated with the easements. Some residents and business owners say the easements are worth much more and the town should be compensated for their full value.

No one knows much about the post office buyer or specific plans for the site. LCOR Ventures once was connected to LCOR, Inc., but a public relations firm representing LCOR, Inc. says the California-based LCOR Ventures is a separate company from the large real estate investment and development company that is based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

LCOR Inc. was founded by Eric Eichler in 1992, and Eichler continues to serve as chairman. In 2010, Eichler founded LCOR Ventures. When LCOR Ventures registered to do business in California in July 2010, the registered address was 100 Berwyn Park, Berwyn, Pa., the home of LCOR Inc. In 2012, when the California State Teachers’ Retirement System invested $800 million in LCOR Inc., the notice in Mergers & Acquisitions called the company LCOR Ventures LLC.

Princeton native Tyler Wood, son of former Princeton BMW President Denise Wood, is the vice president for acquisitions for LCOR Ventures.  Before becoming a vice president at LCOR Ventures,Wood worked for LCOR, Inc. as a project manager in Manhattan.