Center for Historic Buildings

GSA’s historic preservation program provides technical and strategic expertise to promote the viability, reuse, and integrity of historic buildings GSA owns, leases, and has the opportunity to acquire.

GSA Building in Washington DC

The Center for Historic Buildings, under GSA’s Office of the Chief Architect, provides national leadership for compliance with the spirit and substance of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and other stewardship directives.  To strengthen and build on the agency’s growing pool of expertise, accumulated experience, and network of affiliated programs, the Center develops prototype solutions and tools, actively promoting best practice exchange to help GSA business lines, project planners, and field operations cost effectively maintain and upgrade historic properties.  Regional Historic Preservation Officers and technical staff in each of GSA’s eleven regions provide day-to-day consultant support to ensure that regional projects and actions comply with the NHPA and are consistent with GSA policy and national stewardship strategy.  Regional and Center preservation specialists work together to ensure that GSA’s national program responds to changing regional needs and conditions.

This dynamic environment requires GSA to be on the cutting edge in developing innovative design solutions and building investment strategies that are economical, extend the useful life of historic structures, and minimize the negative effects of changes needed to keep buildings safe, functional, and efficient. To that end, the Center collaborates with other PBS programs, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations on smart stewardship initiatives to improve the impression buildings make on visitors, to accommodate tenant needs within a preservation framework, and to increase federal use of privately owned historic buildings.

Among these initiatives are GSA's "Legacy Vision,"developed in cooperation with GSA’s Office of Portfolio Management, to promote the financial viability and use of ceremonial buildings and other significant architectural works that best represent the federal government's public building legacy. Others include decision-assisting tools created in cooperation with GSA's  Design Excellence Program to address the challenges of GSA's recent and now aging modernist buildings.

They also include strategies to make the most of available legal authorities and partnership opportunities to keep historic buildings occupied and viable, by outleasing underutilized federal historic buildings to private entities, leasing non-federally owned community landmarks for federal use and, when appropriate, transferring ownership of historic buildings no longer needed for federal use to others who can provide better preservation and public access. The program is staffed by preservation professionals located in GSA's national office and is assisted by regional preservation specialists.

Please see GSA's order of Procedures for Historic Properties ADM 1020.2, dated October 19, 2003 and Extending the Legacy: GSA Historic Building Stewardship to learn about GSA’s preservation policy, programs, initiatives, and national strategy. Search the Historic Federal Building Database to learn about all of GSA's historic buildings.

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Last Reviewed 2015-02-05