“Business as Usual is Over”

The table above lists the long term savings submitted by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on 3/8/12. Savings are calculated as the difference between the maximum rent originally requested by GSA and the maximum rent ultimately approved by the House.  However, the savings represented for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are measured as the difference between current rent and approved prospectus rent (both the GSA request and House approval were identical at $7,137,000).

In last week’s mark-up hearing, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee issued resolutions for 11 prospectuses most of which had been waiting for approval more than a year.  In his committee remarks, Rep. Jeff Denham, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees GSA, stated:  “Business as usual is over, and this Committee will be shrinking the size of federal real estate holdings unless there is a clear and well documented justification for growth.  These prospectuses are real savings – real taxpayer dollars that won’t be spent on unneeded space”.  In support of his comments the committee issued the table illustrated above which demonstrates $19 million in annual savings and $317 million over the term of the combined leases.

This House is actively scrutinizing every prospectus with the explicit goal of reducing the maximum rent GSA may pay in each case.  The tool normally employed for this is a reduction in allowable space.  The House is placing strict space utilization ratios on each prospectus.  In this last batch of approvals the mandated utilization rates were as low as 75 usable square feet per person.

It is clear that Congress intends to shrink the size of the federal leased space footprint a further sign that new space requirements will be quite rare, at least through the November election.