Region 5 Newsroom

GSA's Great Lakes Region Public Affairs Office, located in Chicago, issues media releases and advisories to provide the public with important information on GSA projects and activities within the six states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Historic Milwaukee courthouse gets makeover


The U.S. General Services Administration will soon begin an exterior restoration project of the 119-year-old Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Milwaukee.

This project has awarded $23.4 million to repair and restore the masonry on the building’s exterior granite while maintaining its historic integrity.

“GSA’s investment in the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Milwaukee highlights our commitment to one of the oldest buildings in our six state region. When this project is complete, the building’s exterior will be restored for future generations,” said GSA Great Lakes Region Acting Regional Administrator John Cooke.

The work on this historic Milwaukee building includes repairs on the stone cornices, gutters at the turrets on the north building, and granite corners on the south building. The project also includes treatment and preservation of the exterior granite, limestone and brick masonry, as well as repointing and sealant corrections.

Phase One work will begin in April 2018, and will continue through December 2018, with Phase Two occurring from March to December 2019. The majority of the work will take place during evening and weekend hours. Sidewalks around the building will have overhead protection that corresponds to the work on the building.

Additional information about the project’s progress or the history of the building can be found online at

About the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

  • The Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse was constructed between 1892 and 1899, and in 1932, construction of a large addition was completed, extending the building southward.
  • In 1972, the building was designated a Milwaukee City Landmark, and in 1973, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
  • GSA completed a major renovation and restoration project from 1989-1996, which restored the historic interiors to their original brilliance while incorporating modern office needs.

Helping agencies save big on leasing costs


Finding ways to help federal agency partners save money on their rental rates is a key priority for GSA. Recently, the Great Lakes Region helped two federal agencies save more than $6.5 million on leasing costs.

Exterior image of FDA's new leased office space in Detroit, Michigan
The FDA’s flagship office in Detroit (Thomas Owoc photo)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s flagship office in Michigan has unique laboratory needs. Finding a new location for the agency could have been a difficult and costly task. GSA worked with FDA to understand the agency’s needs and negotiate a new lease agreement with significant savings.

The new lease saves the government and taxpayers nearly $1.7 million on what would have been the remaining two years of agency’s old lease, and locks in this competitive rate for a new 15-year lease at this specialized space. Additionally, GSA was able to reduce the cost of the remaining tenant improvement repayment from the current lease by $292,000.

Another cost-saving effort involved the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since the mid-1970s, NHTSA has housed its research, development, test, and evaluation laboratory in central Ohio. The agency, under its own leasing authority, had multiple operation and maintenance contracts in addition to the lease. They asked GSA to solicit for a new lease to simplify many of these actions and allow them to focus on their mission.

With the facility in a remote location, GSA did not have comparable data when initial lease negotiations began. GSA was able to negotiate a new lease for NHTSA at the current location, bringing together many of the previous operational contracts into one lease. Additionally, GSA secured a lower rate from the initial offer, reducing the potential payments by $4.8 million over the lease’s 15-year firm term.

By taking the time to understand the needs of both FDA and NHTSA and learning the local real estate markets, GSA was able to create greater efficiencies and realize significant savings for these federal agencies.

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