U.S. Postal Service officials say they have signed a contract to sell the 72,000-square-foot former processing facility, which was closed in July 2010.
Officials said they could not disclose the proposed sale price of the property, which is assessed at $9 million by Albemarle County, or name the buyer.
The postal service confirmation comes as officials from Albemarle County-based MicroAire, a manufacturer of high-tech medical equipment, say they are looking for a larger facility to accommodate product expansion.
Neither would confirm if the agency and the company are working together, however.
“All we can say is that the building is under a contract for sale, but that nothing has gone through yet. Nothing is final,” said Cathy Boulé, postal service spokeswoman. “We cannot confirm the name of the company until the sale is complete.”
“MicroAire is growing, so we’re looking for additional facility space for new-product development labs, a surgeon training facility and increased manufacturing,” said Alan Connor, general manager of orthopedic specialties for MicroAire. “We plan to stay in the area and we know that we need a larger facility. Right now we’re still exploring options, and we haven’t made any final decisions yet.”
MicroAire manufactures several lines of high-tech medical equipment. It builds from billet a variety of drills and tools used to surgically repair broken bones, medical equipment used for liposuction, devices to help remedy carpal tunnel syndrome sans surgery and sterile, disposable surgical devices such as scalpels.
The company recently purchased a product that attaches skin to bone without using stitches. The devices are absorbed by the body and reduce scarring.
“We recently acquired a new product line called Endotine and we are bringing that entire operation from California to Albemarle County this summer,” Connor said. “We’ve been here for 16 years and we’re very happy to be part of the Charlottesville community — great people, great business climate, overall quality of life. In fact, our location is an asset in recruiting talent.”
MicroAire is currently headquartered in the University of Virginia Research Park near Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, about a mile away from the former mail sorting facility.
The company, created in 1977, designed and marketed miniaturized bone saws, drills and other orthopedic equipment that provided surgeons with better accuracy and control. It moved to Charlottesville in 1995.
The postal facility, which had employed more than 180 people, closed in July with mail being shipped to a newer facility near Sandston. The postal service said the closure was part of cost-saving measures made across the country.
In 2009 the postal service set about to cut $6 billion a year from its national budget, including slashing personnel costs by the equivalent of 57,000 jobs. Other actions included hiring and salary freezes and closing or selling postal facilities across the country.