Agencies Ramp up Property Disposal Efforts, OMB Reports
Federal agencies are on pace to eliminate $3.5 billion in real estate costs by the end of 2012, exceeding a goal President Obama set in June 2010 for shedding excess properties and lowering operating costs, the Office of Management and Budget said Thursday.
Agencies already have achieved $1.5 billion in savings through a combination of sales, consolidations, canceled projects, and reduced maintenance and utility costs, according to Jeff Zients, federal chief performance officer and OMB’s deputy director for management. An online dashboard posted on the Performance.gov website allows the public to track agencies’ progress in getting rid of unneeded properties.
To date, the Department of Agriculture leads the federal government in slashing real estate costs, saving $279 million through the disposal of excess facilities and cutting operating costs since Obama set a $3.0 billion target last year. The Defense Department comes in third behind the Energy Department, eliminating $260 million worth of excess real estate and operating costs. DOD’s target for lowering its real estate spending through October 2012, $650 million, is larger than that of either of the other two agencies, however.
OMB also updated its map of excess federal properties, a database of 12,000 facilities — ranging from sheds to empty warehouses — that have been targeted for closure or consolidation. The interactive map also identifies 1,400 properties that the government already has disposed of, including a 1 million square foot Brooklyn warehouse that sold for $10 million and a Bethesda, Md., office building that sold for over $12 million.
Zients announced the addition of a federal landmark to the list of excess properties — the General Services Administration’s West Heating Plant in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The two-acre property has rung up $3.5 million in maintenance costs in the decade since it was last used.