Frattallone’s Ace Hardware is in the process of purchasing the building at 2286 Como Ave.—home to a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) branch since 1970—pending the results of an environmental site assessment.
The USPS has a lease through November 2015, which would stand through the sale, said spokesperson David Rupert.
The building went on the market last September. It is owned by Lorraine McCann. Her late husband, Harold “Buzz” McCann, had operated Statewide Engine Rebuilders there through the 1960s. The building had been home to auto repair and servicing businesses since at least 1933.
The Frattallone family owns 20 hardware stores in the metro area, including two on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
Tom Frattallone attended the District 12 Land Use Committee meeting on Feb. 5 to seek approval of a variance to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces at the property from five to zero. The property is fully developed with no available space for off-street parking, he said. The post office currently provides no parking spaces.
The Land Use Committee voted in favor of the variance. The request will go to the city Planning Committee on March 2. Frattallone said the building will go through an environmental site assessment before the purchase is made. If the project goes forward, the Como Avenue hardware store would be Frattalone’s smallest store.
Rupert said USPS would like to keep a branch office in the neighborhood.
“Our desire is to stay in our present location, and we will work with the new owner to maintain a presence there,” he said. “With the downsizing of the amount of mail the post office receives, it doesn’t need [the square footage] it once did.”
“It’s possible that the post office could be co-located in another retail space. It’s good for a business to have a post office,” he said.
If the postal service can’t make an agreement with the new owner of the building, “we will work to find an alternate location,” Rupert said. “We will be looking for somebody to provide a lease to us.”
The Postal Service began leasing the building in 1970. For the previous 40 years, the Como branch post office had operated around the corner at 2238 Carter Ave., today the site of Micawber’s Books.