The City of Minneapolis and the United States Postal Service is looking into an unusual solution to keep postal services available in south Minneapolis in the wake of the recent protests and riots: opening a post office in the nearby Kmart.
The Kmart on Nicollet Avenue was bought by the city in March after years of clamoring from some residents for its demolition as it cuts off Nicollet Avenue south of Eat Street.
But now that demolition is likely to be delayed if the city goes through with its proposed plan to lease the site to the USPS, so it can operate a temporary post office in the wake of the destruction of two of its post offices near Lake Street.
The city is offering a lease for up to 24 months to the USPS with a rent of $30,416 per month starting Aug. 1.
"The USPS did an extensive search to find suitable locations in south Minneapolis, and the former Kmart store was the only viable option that met its needs with a start date in August 2020," said a report to the Minneapolis City Council.
But what does this mean for the Kmart site? Well, the city had planned to demolish it by the end of 2020, but that will inevitably be delayed if the USPS moves in.
However, a council spokeswoman told BMTN that while the demolition will be delayed, the USPS's potential use of the Kmart building doesn't delay the city's wider plans for the site, work on which wasn't due to get underway until after the end of the proposed lease.
"With community engagement, street design, and engineering not yet started and the lease terminating by July 31, 2022, there remains ample time to demolish the structure prior to any construction start," the city says.