The federal government’s real estate portfolio is massive: 1.2 million buildings and other structures with a total annual operating and maintenance budget of $19 billion. That’s quite a carbon footprint.
The Reagan administration came up with a nifty idea in 1982 for raising money for the cash-strapped federal government: selling off part of the 7,000-acre national Agricultural Research Center. The crop research facility sat astride one of the few undeveloped large tracts in suburban Washington, D.C.Budget experts boasted that the sale would net the government millions of dollars and that the research could be easily shifted to a less expensive site. But farm groups and the Agriculture Department raised a fuss, and critics of the proposed sale noted that the “Ag Center” was a major attraction for visitors from the farm belt.This year, the Ag Center celebrated its 100th anniversary, and it is still owned in its entirety by the federal government.
For example, consider the Hotel Monaco in the nation’s capital, two blocks from the Verizon Center sports arena. That is the former “Tariff Commission,” a national historic landmark built in 1836 that had fallen into severe disrepair. It was an eyesore until the government negotiated a long-term lease with a hotel company that agreed to preserve its historic character while creating boutique lodging space. ‘They spent $30 million to restore it and did all their work so that any change to the historic fabric is reversible,’ said Michael McGill, GSA press officer for the National Capital region.