Eugene, OR — The 1939 U.S. Post Office building downtown hasn’t got any official bids in the year and a half that it has been on the market, but that doesn’t mean no one is interested.
The Lane County Historical Museum has been looking to move and the post office is high on their list of possible locations. In its current location at the Eugene Fairgrounds, the museumfaces several problems. In addition to little foot traffic, Executive Director Bob Hart said “it’s an exhibit hall–it was never well planned as a museum.”
Hart has had his eye on the post office building since it hit the market. “It’s in a very interesting historical spot because there are very few corners in Lane county, or in Eugene for that matter that have that many commercial building still open.”
Hart said that while its in a good location, its not a perfect museum. He also said that it will meet the museum’s space requirements.
The total cost for converting and buying the property would run at about $10 million. “The larger cost is going to be converting that wonderful old building into a proper museum,” said Hart.
While he hasn’t put in a bid yet, Hart already has a conjectural floor plan. Hart said “We are still thinking. We don’t have the money. We haven’t done a capital campaign.”
One of the things holding Hart back is that the building is joined to its 1956-1957 addition which shares a heating and cooling system. To sell, this is being separated. Because of this, there isn’t an estimate of how much utilities would run each month. Hart said that if the utilities run too high, they would back off.
Hart said “We need to find some way of acquiring the post office that doesn’t require us to buy it.” However, the government isn’t going to just hand over the building.
The county commission voted 5-0 to support the museums purchase of the post office building. However, the museum isn’t the only group looking at the space.
POEM–Post Office as Eugene Museum would like to turn the post office into a Pacific-Rim Art Museum says Hart.
If the museum can find a way to purchase the property, Hart said “the hardest part will be remaining open while preparing to move.”