The Government Accountability Office denied the protests of three
developers vying for a $450 million lease from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Monday, ending a contentious bidding process and providing a likely final determination that the agency will remain in Rockville.
The General Services Administration, which brokers many federal real estate decisions, had opted to keep the agency in the Parklawn Building, in Rockville. Three development firms — two with sites in Prince George’s County and one with a site in Montygomery County — protested the award, and the GAO upheld those protests in June.
But the GSA reconsidered and again chose the Parklawn owners and the GAO upheld that decision Monday.
Ralph O. White, GAO’s managing associate general counsel for procurement law, issued a statement saying, “our review of the record led us to conclude that GSA evaluated offers in the way it had outlined in the solicitation, and properly considered the relative merits and prices of the proposals in making its selection decision.”
The HHS competition was particularly contentious because it was one of the last major real estate deals the GSA procured before much of its construction budget was cut by Congress. The choice to keep HHS in the Parklawn Building, owned in part by the JBG Cos., elicited complaints from officials in Prince George’s County because the county has much fewer federal office space than other local jurisdictions.
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