Former Public Buildings Chiefs Weigh in on GSA, FBI
The GSA is making plenty of real estate waves these days. And two former public buildings commissioners tell us the GSA may be on the right track.Easterly Partners Joe Moravec (who served four years as commish) tells us he applauds the work of both GSA acting admin Dan Tangherlini and Dorothy Robyn, current public buildings commissioner, for their creative response to the GSAs challenges. Initiatives like revamping Federal Triangle South into a mixed-use environment and finding a new use for the Hoover Building are bold moves, Joe says, that public sector lifers usuallyaren'tconditioned to see through. And since the GSA is under constant pressure from both the White House and Congress to create efficiency and add value (with fewer resources than ever before), the stakes are high.
But Joe says the experience of both Tangherlini (a former DDOT and Treasury official) and Robyn (former DoD real estate honcho) will allow these high-risk projects to succeed. And as for the FBI sitch: Joe says the agency should stay in the District, due to its central location regionally and the fact that DC is the headquarters of the federal government, not Maryland or Virginia. Joe also says that the political battle between jurisdictions for the FBI should be laid to rest and that a solution should remain with the GSA instead.
Another former public buildings chief--Genslers Bob Peck-- isnt weighing in on one jurisdiction or another, but says those following the story need to be patient. Theres a thicket of federal rules and approvals for the GSA, Obama administration, and Congress to go through before selecting the right site, developer, and deal-- including sifting through the RFI reports submitted and getting an RFP out smoothly. Bob used this example as caution that things may move slower than you'd like: the 10-plus-year process for rolling out an RFP and ultimately selecting the Trump Organization to redevelop the Old Post Office building.(If it only took five more years, it would be just in time for President Bryce Harper to sign it into law.)