Rep. John Mica’s dream of delivering the trade commission headquarters to the National Gallery of Art took a step back Tuesday.
Dan Tangherlini, acting head of the General Services Administration, informed the Florida Republican that the congressman’s two proposals to move the Federal Trade Commission out of the Apex building were either physically impossible or too costly.
Instead, the GSA head and former D.C. city administrator proposed relocating FTC employees from 601 New Jersey Avenue and 1800 M Street to Constitution Center, a Southwest D.C. office building.
The Apex building, at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, has been the FTC’s headquarters since 1938. A resolution authored by Mica called for the GSA to study whether it could consolidate two or three of the FTC ’s Washington offices into space in Constitution Center. The Securities & Exchange Commission has empty space in the building after backing out of a lease there.
But Tangherlini, two months after taking over the agency following a convention spending scandal that toppled administrator Martha Johnson, wrote to Mica that that proposals weren’t workable. He said Constitution Center did not have sufficient space for FTC employees from three locations (Apex, 601 New Jersey Ave. NW and 1800 M Street NW) to move there.
“After extensive discussions with FTC, and an examination of the total available space in Constitution Center, (including space that SEC would contend that it is not responsible for and does not currently have rights to under its lease) GSA has determined that the first alternative proposed in the Committee’s resolution is not physically possible,” he wrote.
Mica’s second suggestion, moving just employees from the Apex and 601 New Jersey Avenue to Constitution Center, didn’t make sense financially, Tangherlini said.
Instead, the GSA head and former D.C. city administrator proposed relocating FTC employees from 601 New Jersey Avenue and 1800 M Street to Constitution Center.
“Given the cost of the alternatives discussed above, GSA’s recommendation and plan is to proceed with consolidating the two FTC leased locations (601 New Jersey Avenue and 1800 M Street) at Constitution Center and continue to house the FTC headquarters components at the Apex Building,” he wrote.
A spokesman for Mica said the congressman was in Florida and had not yet responded to the letter.
If the FTC filled the remaining space at Constitution Center it could dissuade the building’s owner, David Nassif Associates, from taking action legal against the SEC, which it says owes millions of dollars in back rent. The SEC says does not owe the company money.
Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz