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Jun 24, 2009 1:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New Southampton Village Post Office to open July 13

Jun 24, 2009 1:29 PM

The new post office on North Sea Road in Southampton Village is due to open on July 13, according to a Postal Service spokesman.

The $3 million post office, for which the U.S. Postal Service broke ground one year ago this month, will have 3,000 post office boxes and will be 8,800 square feet in size, making it 40 percent bigger than the Nugent Road facility it is replacing.

The Postal Service has leased the post office building on Nugent Street since 1964. It has only 1,698 P.O. boxes, but a post office annex on Jagger Lane houses an additional 937 boxes. Moving out of the Nugent Street facility will save the Postal Service $209,000 a year on rent and leaving Jagger Lane will save another $28,080 annually, according to Postal Service spokesman Tom Gaynor.

Mr. Gaynor also pointed out that the 2.2-acre lot on North Sea Road where the new facility is located will offer significantly more parking spaces than the Nugent Street office.

The Postal Service bought the North Sea Road lot for $1.2 million in 1998. It was composed of three parcels that local real estate developer George Semerjian, along with former Mayor William Hattrick Jr., Southampton Town Trustee Fred Havemeyer and two other local officials who remained anonymous, bought and assembled into one lot. They had prepared the lot for the post office to entice the Postal Service to keep the base of the 11968 zip code in the village and abandon plans to build on County Road 39.

“It surfaced that they proposed to close the existing one and open a new one next to Burger King on County Road 39,” recalled Mr. Hattrick. Residents raised concerns that a post office on the highway would pose traffic dangers and be inconvenient.

Mr. Semerjian said the village had been searching for an ideal post office location within the village for two years before turning to him. He was happy to help. “I’m at the post office twice a day, so it’s very important to me,” he said Monday.

Of the three adjacent parcels he found on North Sea Road, two were vacant and a third had a recently renovated house on it that was razed to make room for the post office, he said.

Early plans for the North Sea Road post office called for a 20,000-square-foot building with 3,600 P.O. boxes to be opened in the fall of 2000. The plans were scaled down to a 17,000-square-foot facility at an estimated cost between $4.5 million and $5 million, but the Postal Service faced limited federal funding for a number of years. It was forced to put many of its capital projects on hold for several years, including the new Southampton Post Office. As funds became available, new construction projects have slowly been reinstated.

Mr. Semerjian said he had offered to buy the lot back from the Postal Service or lease it so he could just build the post office himself and could lease the space to the Postal Service. However, the Postal Service told him that if the lot was put on the market, there would have to be competitive bidding. With no guarantee he would not be outbid, he stepped away from the plan.

In 2004, village officials led by then Mayor Joseph Romanosky Jr., concerned about traffic congestion on North Sea Road, launched an effort to protect the parcel from development and make it a park. Mr. Romanosky had said that the village was unable to get the funding and support needed to purchase and preserve it.

Mr. Hattrick said that having the new post office on North Sea Road is an acceptable consolation compared to County Road 39. “However bad a location this may turn out in some people’s minds to be, it is a hell of a lot better than what we were looking at,” he said.

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Is the grass already worn out? It looks like a perfect place to wait for work...
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jun 23, 09 5:47 PM
About time!! I wonder if the "New" post office hired any more counter help or are they still going to have only one or two workers to man the counter during the lunch rush or holidays? This is not a slap at the workers, but the current staffing numbers at the post office is deplorable. I regularly stop in during lunch hour to take care of my business and along with many others am subjected to long waits on line to get packages or other items of business.
By Fishtale574 (2), Southampton on Jun 24, 09 7:27 AM
I'm glad this is in the village and not on 39... that way i don't have to look at this ugly building on drives east.
By deKooning (106), southampton on Jun 25, 09 9:23 AM
I agree with deKooning. They definitely missed a trick with the architecture.

The P.O have Ignored other Southampton public buildings, and also the historical vernacular, to create a generic McMansion - a real shame.
By Otter Noir (1), Southampton on Jun 25, 09 9:43 AM
Unfortunately the mindset seems to be that this type of architecture is "historical".
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jun 26, 09 11:49 AM