GSA's Biggest Concerns
With the 100M SF it owns throughout the region and the big leases it has to administer, GSA's decisions can create shockwaves throughout DC real estate. That's why we're excited to hold our annual DC Federal Property & Public/Private Partnerships Summit next week, and we caught up with one of our expert speakers for what's at the top of GSA's list.
Arent Fox's Jon Bouker (snapped this morning), who'll be moderating Tuesday's event at the Willard, says GSA needs to be "firing on all cylinders" to push through the leases out in the market, including 100k SF-plus requirements for the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Homeland Security, and Customs and Border Protection agencies. (Ironically, the risk of fire on all cylinders is what makes finding space for NASA so difficult.) Jon says government leasing is moving at a faster pace than in past years, though owners and tenants have had to adapt to a "new normal" where space requirements are smaller and utilization rates (useable square feet per person) play a bigger role.
2) Federal Triangle South, FBI, and St. Elizabeths
Deciding the fate of these three massive government assets is also a big deal over at GSA; the search for a new FBI home and a developer to take on the controversial Hoover Building (pictured) has created a very public region-wide battle. Jon says the process of leveraging buildings in Federal Triangle South (two of them are out for RFQ right now) could be "a game changer" for DC and GSA, as it would give developers ways to further transform the city and relieve the government of underutilized assets. (Can't the FBI move to FedEx field? While they search for missing persons, they can also look for the 'Skins offense.)
Since the government prefers to finance big real estate projects up front, creative public/private partnerships need to be sourced to help things run more smoothly, Jon says. He's worked on two projects where GSA came together in harmony with private developers: The Yards in Southeast (with Forest City) and the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue (with the Trumps). GSA also needs to make sure it spends wisely the over $9B appropriated by Congress to consolidate and repair buildings in its portfolio, while also reducing its budget deficit. Click here for more info on Tuesday's event.