Tents on the front of the building were not being taken down at lunchtime on Thursday. Photo: Lance Knobel
People opposed to the federal government’s attempt to sell Berkeley’s main post office at 2020 Allston Way are camped out in protest.  Photo: Lance Knobel
People opposed to the federal government’s attempt to sell Berkeley’s main post office at 2020 Allston Way are camped out in protest.  Photo: Lance Knobel

A U.S. Federal Court judge on April 14 dismissed the city of Berkeley’s lawsuit to stop the sale and relocation of the city’s main post office on Allston Way. However, from the city’s perspective the news is not all bad.

In deciding that the city’s case was moot, Judge William Alsup ruled that the United States Postal Service “had to formally rescind its decision to relocate the post office from 2000 Allston Way,” according to a summary prepared by Berkeley city attorneys.

That means, for now, the Main Post Office is not officially for sale.

If the USPS decides to put the historic building up for sale again, it will have to give Berkeley and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (which filed a separate lawsuit in November) a 42-day notice so they can argue the points that were not discussed during the current litigation.

“In a nutshell, Judge Alsup has effectively granted the City and National Trust the relief we requested by requiring USPS to make a binding commitment that its decisions to relocate and sell the post office have been rescinded,” Antonio Rossman — an attorney working pro bono for the city — wrote in a prepared statement.

Read more about the Berkeley Post Office.

The city had filed a lawsuit to stop the sale when the USPS had a contract with Hudson McDonald, a Berkeley developer, to buy the building. The developer later rescinded its offer.

Judge Alsup said since there was no offer on the table, a lawsuit to stop the sale was moot. Read the complete ruling.

Augustine Ruiz, Jr., a spokesman for the USPS, said in an email: “We are pleased with the court’s decision. Our plans are that retail postal services will continue to be provided at the Berkeley MPO and if there is any change in that plan, we will engage in the requisite regulatory process. The property is not currently on the market, and we are evaluating the situation in light of the court decision.”

This story was updated after publication to clarify the role of Antonio Rossman, and to include a link to Judge Alsup’s April 14 ruling.It was further updated on April 16 to include the statement by USPS.

Legal battles over Berkeley’s main post office continue (02.23.15)
Deal to buy Berkeley Post Office fizzles, police clear encampment
Local developer Hudson McDonald in contract to buy post office (11.05.14)
Federal report calls to stop sale of post office (04.18.14)
Locals, city fight on to stop sale of Berkeley’s historic post office (07.19.13)
Berkeley’s political firmament rallies for post office (05.03.13)
Post Office to sell its downtown Berkeley building (04.22.13)
Council asks for 1-year moratorium on post office sale (03.06.13)
USPS hears vocal opposition to sale of downtown building (02.28.13)
Post Office public hearing to focus on Berkeley sale plan (02.26.13)
Berkeley discusses future of main post office (02.13.12)
Protesters take Save Post Office demo to San Francisco (12.05.12)
Rally held to protest sale of Berkeley’s main post office (11.15.12)
Developer eyes Berkeley’s historic post office (08.01.12)
Chances are slim of stopping sale of Berkeley’s post office (07.23.12)
Postal Service plans sale of Berkeley’s main post office (06.25.12)

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...