OMB Instructs Agencies on Freezing Real Estate Footprint

The Obama administration continued its drive to economize on federally owned real estate, issuing guidance requiring all agencies to submit a plan to “restrict the growth in their office and warehouse inventories.”

Controller Danny Werfel posted a memo on Thursday outlining a “Freeze the Footprint” policy on which agency progress will be evaluated and posted on

“Agencies have made tremendous progress in making their real estate inventories more efficient,” Werfel wrote in a blogpost. “However, we know there is still more work to be done. As we develop new initiatives to spur progress in managing federal real estate, we will be incorporating `lessons learned’ from the implementation of the president’s goals to date.”

As an example of progress, he noted the General Services Administration’s sale of Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Dallas for $357,500, a move that saved the government more than $27 million by requiring the new owner to complete environmental remediation.

The memo requires agencies to work with GSA and the Office of Management and Budget and to submit by May 15, 2013, a three-year plan that sets up new internal controls and increased communication between the agency’s chief financial officer and its real property management office.

Agencies are encouraged to pursue more co-locations and consolidations while selling off unneeded properties. “A disposal creates an offset in the amount of the square footage of the office or warehouse space disposed,” it said. “The agency’s declaration of a property as `excess’ to GSA will count as an offset.”

In addition, “each agency should consult with GSA on how to use technology and space management to consolidate, increase occupancy rates in facilities, and eliminate lease arrangements that are not cost or space effective.”


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