The federal government’s main landlord agency announced that it has identified 23 properties it will try to dispose of due to the pandemic and more flexible telework policies, which have led to underutilized offices.
The General Services Administration (GSA) stated that by shedding the unused space, it could reduce 3.5 million square feet and avoid more than $1 billion in costs over the next decade.
“GSA is committed to right-sizing and optimizing the federal buildings portfolio in ways that benefit local communities and taxpayers,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan.
Ms. Carnahan’s announcement precedes her scheduled appearance before Capitol Hill, where lawmakers have been expressing impatience over the continued expenditure on unused office space for federal workers.
GSA is responsible for managing office space for civilian agencies in the Executive Branch and oversees approximately 370 million square feet nationwide.
Identifying the 23 properties is just the initial phase. GSA must now collaborate with local communities to determine the best course of action for each property, which could include selling or exchanging them within the federal government or to state or local governments, or selling to the general public.
The 23 buildings earmarked for disposal include two in the District of Columbia: The Webster School Building and the Nebraska Avenue Complex. Additionally, California, Massachusetts, Missouri and Tennessee have two buildings each on the list, while Texas has three. Several other states have one building each on the list.
GSA noted that it divested five properties in the past year, and in the current fiscal year, it will complete the divestment of six properties announced previously.
The government’s utilization of office space has become a contentious issue, particularly in recent years as the pandemic has restricted building access and workers have been slow to return. Although the Biden administration has urged agencies to maximize in-office presence, employees and their unions have, in many cases, resisted.