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How The GSA Is Opening Doors To More Opportunities

Former GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth at BOMA 2016

Denise Turner Roth is nearing her one-year anniversary of her appointment as the 21st Senate-confirmed administrator of the US General Services Administration and yesterday morning shared with BOMA International Conference & Expo attendees what's driving her each day.

What motivates her, she says, is looking for opportunities for the GSA to support development and bring public-private partnerships to the table. The GSA manages 375M SF, with 50% of that leased, so it's always looking for ways to find cost savings, especially in operations, to maximize federal investment. Public-private partnerships often provide the best values and opportunities, she says.


Administrator Roth, snapped with BOMA International president & COO Henry Chamberlain, says the GSA has launched a nationwide Economic Catalyst Initiative to better align the agency’s building, leasing and relocation plans with the economic development goals of local communities, while also improving outcomes for the federal government and partner agencies and respecting local development processes. 

The three points it focuses on: how to improve management policies and processes, how to increase competition and how to be more transparent and communicate better. For instance, leases should be tackled as early as possible; an estimated 60% of the GSA's leases are expiring in the next five years. "That's a lot of activity," she says. "How are you working with us?"

The GSA is changing to meet the market and wants the real estate industry to come knocking on its door to discuss how it can bring opportunities to the public and private sectors, she told the crowd.

After her address, Administrator Roth shared some thoughts on the collaborative relationship between GSA and BOMA. "We certainly have a lot of information about how real estate works from our 67-year history," she says, "but we don't feel like we have the market on best practices." To help advance the industry, GSA and BOMA work together to consider implications of potential policy changes and share notes on what’s working—and what’s changing—in their respective sectors.