Could Amazon miss its dream urban location because of a long-delayed postal delivery?
It’s a question worth considering as city officials winnow the list of properties to suggest for Amazon’s HQ2. Suffolk Downs — a blank canvas of opportunity — is an obvious top choice. But Amazon might want to be closer to the action.
Enter South Station, Boston’s biggest transit hub.
There’s the 5-acre property next door to the station on Kneeland Street, dubbed SouthGate. (It had no takers earlier this year, but the state could help with the development costs.) There’s the Hines tower proposal, with office space planned above South Station. And Amazon is already moving in across the channel.
Then there’s the real prize: the US Postal Service’s Fort Point complex. Relocating the USPS frees up 15 prime waterfront acres.
Don’t think it hasn’t been tried. Negotiations dragged on for years, driven by a desire to add seven tracks at South Station. The Postal Service is in the way. State officials even had a new USPS home in mind, further down Summer Street in South Boston. But the talks get more challenging each time a Seaport parcel sells at blockbuster prices.
The trail has apparently gone cold. A postal service spokesman says the agency is not pursuing any plans to move. A spokeswoman for US Representative Stephen Lynch, a prominent cheerleader for the deal, says it’s a matter between the Baker administration and USPS. And the Baker folks don’t have much to say at all.
Amazon, like the 2024 Olympics bid before it, has the potential to help deliver the long-awaited USPS relocation. But first, the right person needs to pick up the phone.Jon Chesto can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @jonchesto.