Congress, GSA Look to P3 to Tame Federal Real Estate Costs

House lawmakers and federal officials believe public-private partnerships (P3s) are the key to helping the federal government dispose of excess properties as well as reduce its real estate costs.

“The question is, can we provide that space in a more cost effective manner? P3s effectively used have the potential to help leverage private expertise in meeting those needs and developing and restoring agency properties,” Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, said Tuesday at a roundtable the committee sponsored to explore the benefits of P3s.

General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini said the private sector offers the federal government an opportunity to streamline its portfolio of older, outdated buildings, reported Federal News Radio.

“[The] need to use space more effectively coupled with the transformational effect of technology in our offices is changing the way we work. … Public-private partnerships, we believe, represent a promising approach,” Tangherlini said.

One hurdle that still needs to be overcome is the Office of Management and Budget’s approach to scoring federal projects.

“It seems like on the scoring front, it’s going to be really difficult to get OMB and the Congressional Budget Office to just change their minds,” said Kim Burke, managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle. “You’re going to have to do something really drastic. … It’s not necessarily the government paying, it’s the users. It’s a user who’s paying for the ultimate use of the asset.”

For a look at the bold experiment GSA is undertaking at its new headquarters to slash the government’s real estate needs, read the Washington Post story.

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