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Legacy Vision Policy

Restructuring the Owned Inventory

Faced with insufficient capital to maintain its existing inventory, GSA is undertaking a comprehensive review of its public buildings to best align the portfolio with its mission. Known as The Portfolio Strategy for Restructuring and Reinvesting in the Owned Inventory, this initiative will restructure the owned portfolio to consist primarily of strong income-producing properties generating sufficient funds to meet their own capital reinvestment needs.  The ultimate outcome is to provide quality workplaces, increase customer satisfaction, and enhance the asset value of our real estate portfolio for the benefit of the taxpayer.

Stewardship to Preserve Historic Buildings

Along with fiduciary responsibilities driving the portfolio restructuring initiative, GSA has a significant stewardship responsibility to preserve historic buildings and legal obligations under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Executive Order 13006.  Both the law and Executive Order call on the federal government to choose historic buildings first and to make every effort to put historic buildings to government use and to keep them viable. 

Under NHPA, “historic buildings” are those buildings that meet the criteria for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Age (50 years or older), along with architectural and historic significance, is the primary criterion.  NHPA gives equal consideration to properties that have already been included in the National Register as well as those that have not been included, but meet the National Register criteria.   

GSA-Owned Portfolio Facts

  • Over 1700 buildings.
  • Over $6 billion in repair and alteration needs (IRIS).
  • 5-year average annual capital reinvestment budget of $570 million.
  • 570 buildings are non-performing. 
  • 123 buildings are under-performing.
  • About 800 buildings are over 50-years old.
  • 436 buildings meet basic National Register eligibility criteria.
  • 223 buildings are listed on the National Register.
  • 33 buildings are National Historic Landmarks, 11 are individually listed.
  • About 250 buildings are considered monumental or legacy buildings.

A Federal Legacy Vision

Although 436 buildings are subject to special consideration under NHPA, not all buildings warrant the same amount of investment and stewardship effort.  Priority should be given to the most significant buildings.  Of the 436 historic buildings in our inventory, about 250 are considered monumental or legacy buildings designed to serve a symbolic and ceremonial, as well as functional, purpose for the government. 

Integration of A Federal Legacy Vision with Restructuring the Owned Portfolio

Both GSA’s portfolio restructuring initiative and its stewardship responsibilities must be performed in an integrated fashion.  Given the constraints on capital, it is clear that strategic use of limited funds requires GSA to make choices that will benefit some properties more than others.

The Restructuring Initiative involves reviewing and categorizing buildings as performing, under-performing, and non-performing using quantitative measurement methods.  Qualitative criteria or less tangible values (like historic or architectural significance) are not considered at this point.  Non-performing and under-performing buildings are placed on a watchlist.  Each watchlisted-building will then be examined and a workout strategy selected. 

At the point in time when a strategy is developed for a non- or under-performing building, intangible values, such as stewardship and legacy principles come into clear focus and influence decision-making.  Strategies must be explored to ensure that GSA’s historic buildings are positioned to be the strongest financial performers possible

Asset-specific strategies, addressing the asset’s financial condition, market conditions, customer needs, and hold period, have been drafted and captured in Asset Business Plans.  Asset Business Teams should partner with Historic Preservation Offices to refine these strategies, pursue reuse, and ensure that GSA’s historic buildings are given the priority required under NHPA.   Asset Business Plans and asset-specific strategies should be developed in context of Local Portfolio Plans.  Specific considerations include:

  • Maintenance and Repair.  Asset Business Teams should monitor cleaning, maintenance, and utility costs at GSA-owned historic buildings to ensure optimum operating efficiency. Minor repairs should be completed in a timely way to minimize deterioration and the need for more costly future investments.
  • ROI Pricing.  Asset Business Teams should reassess the pricing structure to determine if Return on Investment (ROI) pricing will change the financial performance of the building.  This must be done collaboratively with the customer and using the Office of Management and Budget-approved methodology.  ROI pricing can be considered for modernization projects as well.
  • Marketing to Agencies.  Giving first preference to GSA-owned historic buildings, Asset Business Teams should determine whether any vacancy can be recovered via marketing to other federal agencies.  Housing solutions that favor historic buildings need to be sold to customers.
  • Supplementing Predominantly Federal Use With Outleasing.  Historic buildings with a continuing need to house federal tenants, can be supplemented with outleases to improve financial standing.  Outleasing is not appropriate for all buildings, such as buildings where a federal presence is no longer needed in the community.  However, it can be a valuable tool to improve financial viability, provided that the outlease terms are fixed and compatible tenants are found.  Outleasing can also be used as a short-term holding tool.
  • Conveyance to Financially Positioned Stewards. While the goal is to restructure the owned-portfolio to consist primarily of strong income-producing properties, GSA acknowledges that it will inevitably need to retain a limited number of buildings at the financial fringe.  It is envisioned that this limited number will consist primarily of legacy properties.  That said, GSA’s financial constraints need not impair its stewardship responsibilities.  Donation or conveyance to a responsible steward who is better positioned than GSA to devote additional resources to preserve the building can be sought.

Historic Buildings Program

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