The White Flint Mall post office is officially moving, according to a “Final Determination Letter” from the United States Postal Service sent out on Oct. 1.
The announcement was a mere formality. The post office can’t remain in the mall, much of which is set to be torn down and redeveloped into a mixed-use town center-style property. The lease is up May 31, 2014 and USPS says White Flint Mall won’t renew it.
USPS real estate specialist Rick Hancock explained the moving process at a community meeting in July.
After that meeting, six people wrote in to either ask that the post office remain in the mall or to raise concerns about parking and convenience at the yet-to-be-determined new location.
USPS Vice President of Facilities Tom A. Samra wrote the decision to move is now final. (See the letter below.)
Samra also wrote: “The Postal Service’s goal is to secure a new customer service location as close to the current site as possible and within the same ZIP Code.”
That would mean a new post office location in Kensington, a good distance from White Flint Mall thanks to a strange 20895 zip code that is split in two parts around the incorporated town of Garrett Park. The smaller, westernmost part of the zip code reaches to the area around White Flint Mall, which also happens to be part of the White Flint Sector as designated by Montgomery County and the Planning Department.
Because of the expected surge in residents and businesses in the area, many White Flint leaders said they’d like to see the White Flint Mall post office stay in the area, even if it can’t stay in the 20895 zip code.
Before the July meeting, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee decided to pursue a separate zip code for the White Flint Sector, similar to how Fairfax County won approval from the USPS in 2011 to combine two zip codes of McLean and Vienna into one for redeveloping Tysons.
At the time, Hancock said he couldn’t say for sure if the new post office would have to remain in the 20895 zip code.
Hancock is in charge of finding new possible sites for the 1,200-square-foot retail post office. The new post office will provide the same services as the existing one does, according to Samra.