The list of potential sites for relocation of the downtown Medford post office has been narrowed to five — four of them within a two-block area downtown and one on Central Avenue.

The list of potential sites for relocation of the downtown Medford oost office has been narrowed to five — four of them within a two-block area downtown and one on Central Avenue.

Jackson County acquired the Johnson Administration-era federal office building housing the post office at 333 W. Eighth St. earlier this year, as the U.S. Postal Service looked for a smaller building.

The original list of 25 potential sites was pared to 10 and then a panel including a Postal Service site selector and USPS architects trimmed the list to five finalists:

The Kay Building, 28 S. Fir St.Heritage Motors, 341 N. Central Ave.The former Winan's Furniture store, 112-114 W. Main St.The former SCAN Design furniture store 50 N. Fir St.The former Habitat For Humanity retail store, 160 N. Fir St.

The two Fir Street sites would front on Evergreen Way, while the Kay Building and Winan's Furniture sites would front on Fir Street. The Heritage Motors site presently houses classic vehicles.

Local commercial real estate broker Wade Six anticipates the Postal Service will complete negotiations and have a signed contract by the end of January. Six said architects are establishing tenant improvement costs so the Postal Service can make an "apples to apples" comparison of net costs for each site.

After a deal is signed, Six said, he thought the customer service counter and mail box functions could move in five to six months later. The remaining postal elements, including bulk mail operation, will be shifted to a Sage Road sorting station.

Besides rent and improvement costs, the local post office goal is to have an efficient site for transferring letters and parcels between the downtown office and the Sage Road sorting site.

"Drive times vary from site to site to the sorting facility and the balance of the routes," Six said. "It all comes down to dollars and cents and the fuel costs for the fleet and man-hours.

From the broader Postal Service view, relocation costs and community acceptance come into play, he said.

"All five sites are perfectly acceptable to the city," Six said. "But I think if you take a straw poll in the community you will have varying views."

The competing properties have relative strengths and weaknesses, he said. Parking for the Evergreen Way sites would be near the railroad track, while the Fir sites would rely heavily on street parking.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.