Making way for Falls Church’s new City Center project, whenever that may come, most of the functions at Falls Church’s historic 301 W. Broad St. post office site will soon be relocated five blocks west to the new Art Noveau-inspired “flower” building at 800 West Broad.
The $315-million City Center Projectm approved by the Falls Church City Council last year, includes the public parking lot component of the current post office, which is property owned by the City. That property is included in the footprint of the new City Center, requiring the customer service aspects of the post office to relocate.
The move, originally scheduled for next week, has been delayed to allow the postal service sufficient time to notify current mailbox customers about the changes. All mailboxes will be relocated to the new facility. The post office said it will give customers a 30-day notice before transferring boxes to the “flower” building.
Primary services such as retail sales and passport photos will also be transferred to the new building.
The old facility will retain carrier delivery operations, holding parcels too large for the new center, as well as mail for customers on vacation. In addition, accountable mail – insured or registered mail – will be held at the post office at 301 West Broad. There is no change to the parking lot adjacent to the office.
Both centers will maintain the same hours, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday, and 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday.
Progress on the new facility is “looking very nice,” Donna Bradley, postmaster of the Falls Church Post Office, told the News-Press.
Postal workers recently toured the new space and were excited to work in the state-of-the-art building, said Bradley.
“Pretty much everything is laid out,” she said. “We’re waiting to take possession of the building, which will likely be by sometime in June.”
The new office boasts larger lobbies to accommodate customer traffic, with more mailboxes, a total of 1,500, for customers as well. The mailbox lobby will be open 24 hours, seven days a week for their owners. Customers will also have a choice of four different sizes of mailbox.
An automated postal center (APC) at the new office will provide customers with basic and expedient service for letters and small packages.
Customers will also be able to pick up parcels at new “parcel lockers” beyond regular office hours, said Bradley, with the use of an innovative “parcel key” that will be left in their P.O. boxes.
“Patrons use their P.O. box key and the special key to access the parcel locker, where they leave the parcel key after retrieving their package,” Bradley explained.
Parking will be plentiful, with a two-level garage off Oak Street that provides direct access to the post office from the lower level. The new office is also accessible from Broad Street.
At the moment, Bradley said, the post office is preoccupied with notifying customers of the P.O. box switchover.
“Some numbers may be the same for customers, and some may have changed,” she said, adding that some boxes may be larger than their old sizes at 301 West Broad. “If a box changed from a size one, which is larger, to a size two, we will give it to them for now, but allow them to choose at the end of their mailbox’s lease.”
Bradley reassured customers that the post office is “trying its best to streamline the transition.”
“If we can delete a number to keep mailbox numbers the same, we will do it,” she said.
Customers will be notified of the changes with a letter in their mailboxes.
Bradley encouraged customers with questions or concerns about the ongoing transition process to contact the post office directly at 703-532-8823 and ask for the P.O. box clerk.