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Postal Service may close Ellicott Station in downtown Buffalo

The U.S. Postal Service is thinking of closing one of its two branches in downtown Buffalo – Ellicott Station at 701 Washington St.

In a letter this week to Mayor Byron W. Brown and Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen, a postal official said that if the branch is closed, its retail services would move to a smaller, retail-only facility “as close as reasonably possible to the existing location.”

Retail services, which include selling stamps, accepting packages for shipment and offering post office boxes, would continue in the current building until a new site is ready. That site has not yet been chosen.

The postal official, real estate specialist Richard Hancock, based in Greensboro, N.C., offered to discuss the proposed closing with Brown and Pridgen and take suggestions from them and other local officials. He noted that the closing is under consideration as a cost-cutting measure in the face of continuing Postal Service budget deficits.

Hancock said the Postal Service also would hold public meetings and accept written comments on the proposed closing. Then, after a period of comments and appeals, a decision will be made “to proceed with, modify or cancel the proposal,” he added.

The Postal Service has downsized several post offices in Western New York into retail-only operations in recent years. Backroom operations at two other post offices were consolidated into Ellicott Station several years ago. If it closes, they would be moved elsewhere.

The last time a post office was moved in downtown Buffalo was in 1993, when the Niagara Square branch was evicted from the Federal Court Building at 68 Court St. and relocated to the site of the former Waterfront Racquetball and Fitness Club at 229 W. Genesee St.