The federal government is developing major new agency headquarters
at St. Elizabeths hospital and White Oak, but to this point has not provided enough money for some basics such as roads to the new buildings, utilities to power them or space for employees to park their cars.
But under a new spending plan it has proposed to Congress, the General Services Administration would alter and postpone some plans to save money and commit $37.3 million in 2012 toward the Coast Guard headquarters under construction at St. Elizabeths hospital and $10 million toward the Food and Drug Administration consolidation at White Oak.
The GSA — which manages real estate for the federal government — has seen many of its funding, leasing and consolidation requests go un-met as Congress grapples with the federal deficit. The funding slowdown has led commercial real estate analysts to wonder when if ever the government will complete projects like St. Elizabeths, where a consolidation of Department of Homeland Security facilities is now delayed by five years and $500 million over budget.
With its 2012 spending plan, submitted Jan. 27 to Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), chair of the House financial services subcommittee, GSA tries to fill some of the un-met infrastructure needs — essentials such as roads to the new buildings and utilities to power them — at the two projects and cut costs by cancelling or postponing some of its previous plans. The complete spending proposal can be read here.
The estimate for funding needed to open the Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths by 2013 had been $76 million, much larger than the $37.3 million GSA proposes. But in the agency’s spending plan, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said the $37.3 milion would fund an access road, pumping station and utility plant. She proposed saving $19.5 million by postponing a stone facade along the access road, a visitors center and parts of the campus’ central utility plant.
“The original plan was to build a full central utility plant;” Johnson wrote, “however, we will now construct the first module of the central utility plant which will allow for future expansion and allow USCG to occupy the building in FY 2013.”
For White Oak, Johnson proposed $4.5 million to build a surface parking lot to accommodate 3,200 FDA employees; this would replace plans for a parking garage. “Surface parking on the White Oak campus can be constructed at a considerably lower cost to the Federal taxpayer,” she wrote. Another $5.5 million would provide “bare minimum” landscaping and storm runoffs for the campus.
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