Pinehurst Post Office Gets a New Owner
The new owner of the Pinehurst post office building in downtown is hoping to make it a centerpiece of social and economic activity again for the village.
Chicago resident Peter Connelly purchased the building last week. He said he is unsure what will go in the building, but he did say that he has received several inquiries already.
"I am a big fan of Pinehurst," Connelly said. "We want to get something in there to bring people back to downtown. We are going to take our time and make the right decision, and try not to rush things."
The building has been vacant since mid-August of 2011, when its operations were consolidated with another facility in Pinehurst.
According to records from the Moore County Register of Deeds, the building was purchased by Conbros Enterprises, LLC, of Wilmette, Ill. The property transfer was recorded on Dec. 12.
The sale price of the building was not disclosed on the property transfer deed because the government doesn't pay taxes on property it owns and there is no tax stamp on the document that lists the sale price. Connelly declined to say how much he spent for the building, but he did say it was "significantly less" than the original sale price of $675,000.
Connelly has been a frequent visitor to Pinehurst since 1999. He said this is the first time he has purchased a building, but said he saw so much potential in the New Deal-era building that was built in the 1930s.
"It is a really neat building," Connelly said. "It is an original building that is historically intact, and at 4,500 square feet, it is much bigger than it looks. It is a big enough space that a variety of people can go in there."
Mayor Nancy Fiorillo called the purchase a positive for the village.
"We are very happy to see the building in private ownership," Pinehurst Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said. "We hope that whatever the use, it will bring people into the village downtown and contribute to the vibrancy we are working to create."
Connelly said he believes the building is a key component of Pinehurst's "pristine, quintessential" downtown. He said he had been keeping an eye on the building since it closed in hopes of buying it.
Local firm Clift Commercial helped with the purchase, Connelly said.
The downtown post office closed on Aug. 19, 2011, and services were consolidated at the Blake Boulevard facility. Representatives from the USPS said the postal service was in a "dire financial situation" and that the closing was necessary to maintain future viability.
Some residents and downtown business owners expressed concern then that the closure would harm pedestrian traffic in the village, because the post office was a gathering place downtown.
Council member Doug Lapins, who at one time proposed the council explore the possibility of purchasing the building, said he frequently visits downtown and has noticed significantly fewer people downtown since the closing.
"I am a big fan of trying to do something there to create traffic in the village," Lapins said. "I hope he can come up with something to put more people in the streets."
Contact Tom Embrey at (910) 693-2484 or tembrey @thepilot.com.
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