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The city's Redevelopment Agency tabled a motion Wednesday that would have given the U.S. Postal Service exclusive control of downtown Block 29 for eight months.

The agency, composed of the mayor and City Council, offered to sell the 3.5-acre parcel to the Postal Service last month for $853,000, $216,000 less than what the agency paid for the land several years ago.Several buildings occupied the block when the agency bought it but have since been torn down, thus lowering the property's value.

Postal Service officials are looking for a site to build a large post office and want time to analyze Block 29. Officials need to assess the environmental impact of the office, do topographical and boundary surveys and geotechnical evaluations before buying the land.

"The Postal Service is very interested in the property," wrote Marcus K. Nielsin , real estate specialist for the service, in a letter to the agency. "However . . . we cannot work with an offer that is subject to be withdrawn at any time."

The agency, however, postponed action until its meeting April 15. Members are waiting to hear the specifics of a retail development plan that was presented by Clark Jenkins last month.

Jenkins, representing Landforms Development, Inc., hopes to build a turn-of-the-century shopping strip on the block. Eight to 10 shops would face Main Street with office space overhead. A retirement housing complex would occupy the back of the block.

Agency members expected Jenkins to make a presentation Wednesday.

"They weren't quite ready with some of the details but they're still enthusiastic and positive about the plan," City Manager Tom Hardy reported to the agency.