Over the past couple of weeks, the section of Main Street near Watertown Square has gone through more changes than it has for many years, with the Post Office closing — at least temporarily — restaurants opening and closing, and a new development starting construction soon.
On Jan. 26, the Main Street Post Office closed for at least two years. The future of the Post Office remains up in the air, because it is located on property that will be part of a recently approved development at 104 Main St., with four stories of residential units and retail on the ground floor.
During the public hearings for the project, representatives from the developers, O’Connor Capital Partners, said that they had reached out to the Post Office to discuss having the Post Office return to the new space.
In the past few weeks, there was talk about a deal being reached for the Post Office to go into the new development at 104 Main Street spread around town, but it turned out not to be so.
This week, City Councilor Emily Izzo sent out a message to residents updating the situation: “Unfortunately there was a miscommunication and the United States Post Office has not officially signed a lease for 102/104 Main Street. They are still looking for a new location. I will keep you informed of any updates.”
Watertown News reached out to the U.S. Postal Service about whether a deal had been reached, but a spokesman said that negotiations between the Post Office and developers remain ongoing.
Many residents expressed anger, sadness, alarm, and exasperation about the closing of the Watertown Square Post Office. The lack of communication about the closing was a particular thorn for many, and some people did not learn until they showed up at the location to find it closed, readers have reported. As of Feb. 9, the USPS website does not list the 126 Main Street location as closed.
Another concern is what happened to the post office boxes that were in the 126 Main Street location. It was a common location for local non-profit groups and others to have a P.O. Box. The boxes have been moved to the Newtown Post Office, at 123 Galen St. in Watertown. Watertown has another option, the East Watertown Post Office at 589 Mt. Auburn St.
Residents have pointed out that neither of these locations are “full service locations,” and are not open on Saturdays. Post Offices in Belmont, Newtonville, Waltham, Harvard Square, and Brighton Center have Saturday hours. See the location of the other Post Offices in the area and their hours in the area by clicking here.
On the same block as the Post Office, a new restaurant has opened, and a longtime dining spot will be closing.
The owners of Crown Cafe reached out to the Watertown Business Coalition to inform them that they have received a notice to vacate the property within the next month. The restaurant is also on the 104 Main St. property that will be redeveloped.
The owners of Crown Cafe purchased the business during the Pandemic, and said they were not told that the property was up for sale. They told Watertown News in May 2022 that they invested tens-of-thousands of dollars using the proceeds from selling their home in Iran to bring the restaurant up to code and open for business.
Just down the street, a new eatery opened in late January. Banh Mi Cafe, at 102 Main St. in Watertown, is serving Vietnamese-style sandwiches and bubble tea. The restaurant had a soft opening on Jan. 25, and a grand opening on Feb. 8.
Banh Mi Cafe wrote on Facebook:
“Dear Customers , Family & Friends
Thank you so much for being a part of our soft opening these past few days. Your support and feedback have been invaluable to us.”
The new spot is next to O Some Cafe, and is in a building that will not be part of the new Main Street development. Developers have plans for a storefront that could potentially be a restaurant, with a glassy storefront opening onto Main Street and a walkway between Main Street and Pleasant Street that will have places to sit and public art.