Finding Retail Opportunities in Federal Buildings

GSA has the authority to contract for concessions in federally owned and leased space in order to meet the needs of the federal tenants in that space and also to contract directly with local telecommunications companies for public pay phones. GSA also has certain authorities to grant outleases, licenses, or permits to the private sector for use of federally owned or leased space.


GSA has the authority to provide essential food concession services in GSA-controlled buildings when nearby private commercial services are insufficient. A feasibility study is used to determine the size and type of concessions needed, and essential concessions services are arranged through Randolph-Sheppard permits, contracts, and/or outleases. The Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 gives priority to blind persons for the operation of onsite concessions in federally controlled facilities. The Department of Education has responsibility for the administration of the Randolph-Sheppard Act and has delegated that responsibility through individual State Licensing Agencies (SLAs). Blind vendors interested in these opportunities should contact the SLA directly for information on licensing requirements and business opportunities; the SLA will represent the vendor in these arrangements.

GSA is required to notify the SLA if and when a vending opportunity becomes available. If the SLA accepts the opportunity, GSA signs a permit with the SLA; the SLA then assigns a license to a blind vendor to operate a vending facility in GSA-controlled buildings. Vending machines, sundry stands, prepackaged snack bars, limited onsite snack bars, onsite snack bars with a grill, and cafes are typical vending facilities.

The operation of a cafeteria is usually covered by a commercial food service contract. Food service contracts are bid on the open market and advertised in Contract Opportunities on However, GSA must still give priority to blind vendors according to the Randolph-Sheppard Act when conducting a competitive procurement.


Outleasing is GSA’s method of leasing to the private sector or state or local government entities GSA-owned or leased space for which there is no immediate need by the Federal community. GSA offers for lease retail, office and warehouse space, and rooftops (generally to wireless telecommunications carriers), as well as short-term licenses for film productions, photography shoots and special events.

Using one of the several outlease authorities available to the agency, GSA can lease space for up to 20 years. A negotiated lease method is used, rates are market based, and procedures are similar to those of the private real estate sector. Interested parties can see current vacancies or contact the GSA Outlease Program by visiting the GSA Outlease Vacancy Listing page.

Last Reviewed: 2022-10-20