With an offer extended to the U.S. Postal Service, Brenau University is looking to invest $3.8 million in the post office on Green Street in Gainesville — $1.8 million to buy it and $2 million to renovate it.
“I did get confirmation over the weekend that the post office was going to send us a response to our offer on Monday … and I’ve yet to hear from them,” said David Barnett, Brenau executive vice president and chief financial officer.
“The process is moving at a snail’s pace,” he said.
Barnett was speaking Wednesday, April 10, to the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority about the acquisition efforts, which are part of an overall $9.1 million improvements package.
The authority voted to back financing the package, which also includes $2.65 million for new classrooms and study space for the Master of Physician Assistant program at the Brenau Downtown Center and $2 million for ongoing renovations at the John W. Jacobs Jr. Building off Green Street.
The college expects to spend an additional $2 million to renovate space in the post office building for the College of Education, as well as student lounge and study areas.
“Also, we’d pick up some parking spaces, which we desperately need,” Barnett said.
The Brenau campus stretches east of Green Street just behind the post office.
Post office officials couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
In a February email, Rick Badie, a spokesman for the Postal Service, said the Postal Service does not discuss real estate transactions. He said he also could not provide any information about a timeline for the office’s relocation.
The Postal Service announced in March 2018 it would relocate the post office from its current site. The 29,000-square-foot building on an almost 3-acre lot at 364 Green St. is listed with The Simpson Co.
U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said in a prepared statement that he was encouraged Brenau is pursuing buying the property.
“The city of Gainesville has been waiting on the post office to relocate for decades, and we expect it to move as quickly as possible while ensuring (the U.S. Postal Service) is taking into consideration the serious community interests at stake,” he said.
Collins added he supports the relocation “due to safety concerns, inadequate parking and accessibility.”
“Regardless of the sale’s outcome, it is absolutely critical that USPS finds a new location within the downtown corridor to ensure the post office remains accessible to the residents of Gainesville. I remain committed to working with USPS and the City of Gainesville to achieve this goal.”