The Post Office on Oak Rd. is moving to the former SunTrust Bank building at 2440 Wisteria Dr. to free up space for the new Towne Center, and the city is calling it “a historic” event for the Snellville community.
After much discussion between the two parties, the U.S. Postal Service has signed an agreement which will allow the city to occupy the space where the Snellville Post Office currently operates. In exchange, the city will help pay for the construction costs of a new post office which should be open to the public by June 2020.
The city bought the SunTrust property in June after a public meeting in May in which citizens weighed in on the matter. Part of the discussion was that the Snellville Post Office no longer needed all its space since the mail delivery functions were transferred to the Centerville branch. Consequently, USPS and The City of Snellville came to an agreement to exchange the properties and signed the legal documents on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.
"This is a historic day for the City of Snellville," Mayor Barbara Bender said in a press release. “We have been working on this deal for at least five years and saw it as a major piece in our goal of creating a Towne Center where residents can live, work, learn and play and making Snellville a destination for visitors. The city would like to thank the USPS for its help in making the Towne Center project a place we can all be proud of."
According to City Economic Development Director Eric Van Otteren, the space on Oak Rd. may be renovated to serve as a four-story parking deck adjacent to other developments in the new downtown district featuring residential, educational and commercial spaces. The relocation of the post office is expected to grant safer parking options and will provide easier access to the upcoming Towne Center and greenway.
“We have a concept plan for the entire area,” Van Otteren said. “We’ll be building a new Elizabeth Williams Library with classrooms on top, and we’ll follow with business and commercial developments. We also hope to recruit a brewery or brewpub in the public market space.”
The next step is for The USPS to complete an environmental and public relations review in a due diligence process that could take up to 90 days. In October, the city will then place a bid with plans to begin construction for the new post office in November.
Van Otteren considers the agreement with the post office a “major win” for the city’s Towne Center project — the very project he was hired to execute. Van Otteren, the mayor and city council will then focus on finalizing an agreement with the projects’ developers. “So, since last year, we have been in discussion with developers. Now with the exchange agreement is the first step, we need to finalize the developer’s agreement. There’s a lot of work to get there.”
According to the city website, the objective of building this Towne Center is to “Create a spark that reignites commerce and community in Snellville.” If the timeline proceeds as planned, the city anticipates construction will begin on the greenway in early 2020.
Photos by Emmett Clower