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GSA to Hold Public Forum on Redevelopment of Tariff Commission BuildingFederal Agency Seeks Partnership with Public, DC Government and Private Sector

GSA #9419

June 27, 1997
Contact: Hap Connors
(202) 501-1231
Art Turowski
(202) 708-5334

WASHINGTON, DC -- Next month, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will hold a public forum to generate comments on adaptive use concepts for the General Post Office in the historic heart of downtown Washington, DC, a mid-nineteenth century historic property also known as the Tariff Commission building.

The forum follows GSA's issuance of a Request for Qualifications for the Development and Management of a National Historic Landmark earlier this month that will be posted in the Federal Register on June 30. GSA is seeking private investment to restore and reuse the National Historic Landmark, which no longer has a viable federal purpose, but which GSA will retain ownership for safekeeping while creating the opportunity for private developers to change the use of the property and keep it open to the public. Adaptive use concepts must be financially feasible and generate long-term revenues for the federal government. Response submissions from interested parties are due August 11, 1997.

Nelson Alcalde, GSA's National Capital Regional Administrator, said, "GSA is facilitating the creation of an innovative partnership among the public, District leaders and the private sector to find ways to reuse this historic federal government office building that will enhance its historic qualities and help revitalize this area of downtown Washington."

Located in the heart of the Pennsylvania Quarter, the Tariff Commission building is located on Square 430 - the block between 7th & 8th Streets and E and F Streets, NW - in Washington, DC. Redevelopment of the federal property will provide for full rehabilitation and occupancy of the structure and grounds, generate long-term public revenues and help revitalize a vibrant, growing, mixed-use neighborhood in the historical "heart" of the city. Adaptive use of the property will ensure preservation of the building and contribute to the preservation of the Pennsylvania Avenue Historic Site, which stretches from the White House to the Capitol.

Alcalde said that GSA, the federal government's landlord, has created a new process that will facilitate and encourage public comments and input on the selection of appropriate uses for this unique public building. He said that a specific adaptive use for the property has not been predetermined.

"We must weigh all the factors of historic preservation, community interests and financial performance goals and objectives before reaching any decisions," Alcalde said. "The upcoming forum will help foster the dialogue."

With the assistance of qualified private real estate developers and their partners throughout the nation, GSA will identify, explore and test alternative uses for the building and their financial feasibility. Developers with successful track records of experience in a variety of uses such as residences, hotels, mixed uses, museums, arts-related activities and others will compete for the exclusive right to lease, develop and manage the building.

The Tariff Commission building is the first marble solid masonry building built in the District of Columbia and was designed by the architects of the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Treasury, the original U.S. Patent Office and the Washington National Monument. The neoclassical interior is detailed throughout with ornamental plaster, cast iron friezes and marble. Significant architectural spaces include a domed library; a two-story skylighted room; two domed and skylighted cantilevered circular open stairs, and vaulted corridors and rooms.

Alcalde said GSA's work on the building conforms with the goals envisioned in the Pennsylvania Avenue reuse and development plan. From 1972 until last year, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation carried out that mission, but legislation that sunset the agency transferred its responsibilities, properties and projects to GSA.

"We are excited to continue the good work of the PADC and be part of the successful revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue - America's Main Street," Alcalde said.

The public forum will be held on Monday, July 7, 1997 at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Navy Memorial Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The entrance is on the ground floor in the east Market Square Building adjacent to the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro Station - Yellow and Green Lines.

Copies of the GSA RFQ are available upon request from Elizabeth Gibson, U.S. General Services Administration, National Capital Region, Portfolio Management , Suite 7600, 7th & D Sts., S.W., Washington, DC 20407.

Additional information can be found on GSA's National Capital Region homepage at http://www.gsa.gov/regions/r11/ncr.htm., or by referencing the Historic American Building Survey No. DC-219 and U.S. Department of Interior National Register No. 69000311.