The General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service decided this week to declare the old Ford plant, a $16 million tract of federal property on the Alexandria waterfront, excess.

Under government procedures, that means that, if no other federal agency offers GSA full market value for the property, it will be offered to the City of Alexandria. If Alexandria doesn't want it, it will be put up for sale later this summer.

The property is being used as a warehouse for several federal agencies.

GSA Public Buildings Commissioner Richard O. Haase said he has reviewed a report showing that the property is underutilized and agrees that it would be best to sell the parcel.

"That sale would put the land back on the tax rolls if it went into private hands, or the city might be able to get it," Haase said. "The last thing the federal government needs on the waterfront is a warehouse."

City officials and Rep. Stanford E. Parris (R-Va.) have been pressing the federal government to relinquish the facility so it could be developed as a blend of commercial, retail and waterfront-related recreation space.

"The congressman does intend to contact Cabinet officials and heads of other agencies not try to acquire the property," said Dick Leggitt, Parris' administrative assistant. "Our goal is to help the city acquire this property by a negotiated sale, not to have it sold to the general public."