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GSA Issues Notices of Availability, Prepares for Auctions During Active “Lighthouse Season”

June 9, 2021

BOSTON – Each year during “lighthouse season,” the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issues Notices of Availability for historic light stations available for transfer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).

Passed by Congress in 2000, the NHLPA recognizes the significance of light stations for maritime traffic, coastal communities, and not-for-profit organizations (nonprofits). The NHLPA program - a partnership among the US Coast Guard (USCG); National Park Service (NPS), Department of Interior; and GSA - endeavors to convey these historic landmarks to new stewards who will preserve their cultural, recreational, and educational value.

This year, GSA is offering five historic lighthouses in four states as no-cost transfers to state or local entities, nonprofit corporations, historic preservation groups, or community development organizations:

Interested organizations meeting the criteria have until July 7, 2021 to submit letters of interest. After that, the NPS will review all applications submitted and may recommend a steward to receive the property. If a recommendation is made, GSA will complete the conveyance to the selected steward with a Quitclaim Deed.

If no suitable steward is found, the lighthouse will be auctioned to the public. This year, GSA is offering one historic lighthouse for auction.

The auction of Penfield Reef Lighthouse in Connecticut opens on June 21,2021. The Penfield Reef Lighthouse is an offshore lighthouse in Fairfield County, Connecticut that marks a submerged reef which extends southeastwardly from Fairfield Beach near the Town of Fairfield into Long Island Sound. For more details, interested bidders can visit: https://realestatesales.gov/gsaauctions/aucpbsindx/?sl=BOSTN

GSA has the responsibility to dispose of government real estate assets that are no longer needed, including historic lighthouses. Historic lighthouses are unique in that they have sentimental and tangible value as historic properties and continue to serve as maritime aids to navigation.

Since the NHLPA program’s inception in 2000, over 140 light stations have been transferred to new grantees. The primary method of transferring lights to new grantees is through no-cost transfers to Federal, state, local governments, or nonprofit organizations. Since Congress enacted NHLPA in 2000, GSA has conveyed 55 percent (a total of 81 lights) to new public entities through no-cost transfers.

Lights often become a part of the local heritage within a community, and new grantees strive to maintain these important landmarks. Forty-five percent (65 lights total) have been sold via public sale, which raised over $8.1 million dollars for the NHLPA program. USCG reinvests these proceeds toward ongoing ATON program needs.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited on-site activity, the program delivered on the NHLPA goals from 2019 to 2020, including:

  • Poe Reef Light (Michigan),
  • Ontonagon Breakwater Light (Michigan)
  • Superior Entry Light (Wisconsin)
  • Federal transfer of Bass Harbor Light (Maine)

About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet and overseeing approximately $75 billion in annual contracts. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services across government, in support of the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities. For more information, visit the GSA website.

Last Reviewed: 2021-07-06