Woodland Hills Post Office moving, apartment complex proposed for site

Los Angeles Daily News – July 14, 2015

WOODLAND HILLS - The nearly 40-year old Woodland Hills Post Office may be stamped out, its cancellation marked May 31, 2017.

The west San Fernando Valley post office, a mail and package drop for streams of residents and workers in and around Warner Center, has ended its lease and must find a nearby location. An Agoura Hills developer, meanwhile, has applied to replace the 130,000-square-foot post office with hundreds of high-end apartments.

“Our lease is good through May 31, 2017,” Richard Maher, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman, said. “But after that we’re going to relocate, because the property owner wants to develop and won’t renew our lease.”

A replacement post office, he added, would be found as close to the current post office as possible. Its more than 2,500 post office boxes would be retained.

The Woodland Hills post office opened in June 1977 at 22121 Clarendon Street on a 4.2-acre block west of Topanga Canyon Boulevard, just south of the 101 Freeway.

Its 163 postal workers now help deliver nearly 43,000 letters and packages a year on 87 urban and rural routes inside the 91302, 91364 and 91367 ZIP codes.

Pending city approval, the low-slung post office bordered by towering pines at Clarendon Street and Glade Avenue would be replaced by a five-story, 335-unit multi-family apartment complex, clubhouse and parking garage for nearly 600 cars, according to a Planning Department environmental review notice released Friday.

Amcal, a large developer based in Agoura Hills, is seeking a zoning and height change for the area and will launch a voluntary environmental review next week. A public scoping meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 at Fire Station No. 84, 21050 Burbank Blvd. Public comments are due by Aug. 10.

“It’s really nice,” said Darin Hansen, Amcal vice president for forward planning and entitlements, of the project. “It’s luxury apartments, not condos. This is a market-rate development. We will continue to work with the community … to alleviate any concerns.”

While the postal service suggested it had lost its lease, Hansen said the federal agency chose not to renew its lease at current market rates. When the developer offered to build a smaller onsite post office in line with a nationwide plan to downsize postal facilities, he said, the postal service declined.

An Amcal traffic study found that 3,300 cars a day head into the Woodland Hills Post Office, he said, compared to 2,300 cars estimated at the proposed apartments.

Woodland Hills Post Office customers on Tuesday were saddened by the pending move.

“I feel terrible. It’s sad,” said Rose D’Amore, a Woodland Hills resident of 35 years. “It’s so convenient; the post office is wonderful.

“What are we going to do with all these new buildings? They’re monsters.”

But Joan Miller, who drops by the post office four or five times a week, said she’d be fine with a move were it convenient.

“It feels like a community post office,” said Miller, holding a heap of carefully wrapped presents in want of a box. “I would hate to lose that sense, once again, of community.

“I’m gonna miss it.”