A couple of little tremors might indicate some long-awaited (and much needed) action on federal real property disposal.
Federal News Radio reported yesterday that a handful of House reps suggested that legal action might be imminent. Access Federal Real Property Profile data* on excess properties valued at more than $50M is at the heart of the issue. Pitter patter. Apparently, there have been numerous requests for the data over the last couple of years to no avail. I can personally attest to the difficulty in getting the damn spreadsheets. I've asked directly and got, "Who are you? And, um yeah no."
Anyway, the hang-up appears to be a lingering question over what should be done with the data-- and more importantly, the actual properties. For those readers out there who don't spend their days marveling at the size and scope of the federal asset portfolio, you should know that the government owns a bunch of stuff. Some of it is nice and functional, some of it is crappy and old but it's all expensive. Operations and maintenance costs for facilities eat up a fair portion of each agency's budget. The idea is to get rid of the underutilized stuff to free up funding for other priorities. Makes sense. Something everyone can agree on, right?
Apparently, the issue isn't so much IF but HOW.
Some have proposed expanding individual agency authorities to shed properties through their normal decision processes. On the other side, the Administration would like to see a more formal, panel-review, BRAC-like process stood up.
Instead of just looking at underutilized assets, it seems worthwhile to me to look at some of the properties with highest redevelopment potential. At lot of the stuff that agencies would like to get rid of lacks appeal-- it's so broken, outdated, remote, or contaminated that there really isn't much hope for turning it into something shiny and new.
Whatever the path, agencies need both the power and incentive to get these liabilities off their books. Let's shake things up!
*Feds: You can request agency-specific downloads here.