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Houston urban developer announces plans to buy massive downtown property

Houston urban developer announces plans to buy big downtown property

Franklin post office Barbara Jordan USPS
The Barbara Jordan Post Office on Franklin St. is currently under contract with local developer Lovett Commercial. h-town-visually.blogspot.com

After closing its doors on May 15, the Barbara Jordan Post Office property on Franklin street in downtown Houston is under contract. Lovett Commercial, a Houston-based developer that specializes in neighborhood shopping centers and urban redevelopment, has announced plans to purchase the property, with closing to come as soon as late summer or early fall. 

The contract price was not disclosed. 

"It's extremely rare to find a 16-plus-acre parcel in any major U.S. downtown," the company said Monday in a statement emailed to the Houston Chronicle by vice president of development Burdette Huffman.

While the final plans for the location are still being decided, it's likely that Lovett will convert the property into a mixed-use property with residential, retail and office spaces, although it is not clear how the slumping price of oil may affect the project.

The downtown post office facility at 401 Franklin features a five-story office building, designed by Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson, the same architects who designed the Astrodome. The office building, which was constructed in 1962, and an industrial sorting facility on the property feature more than 500,000 square feet of interior space.

The property has been listed at least four times since 2009 following the announcement that the U.S. Postal Service would be closing as many as 200 locations nationwide to offset financial losses due to falling volume of mail delivery.

Previously, City of Houston officials had indicated an interest in purchasing the property for a new criminal justice center. But it dropped the idea last year following backlash from private development companies.

Representatives for Lovett Commercial did not immediately reply to a request for comment.