House Republicans Pressure GSA to Sell Washington Warehouse

April 25, 2013

In the latest of a two-year series of field hearings at vacant federal properties, a House Oversight subcommittee on Thursday grilled the General Services Administration over how long it is taking to sell off a vacant warehouse in Southeast Washington near the Navy Yard.
 
“I’m continuing again to try to highlight public assets that sit idle or are undertilized,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, in a later interview with Government Executive. “It’s just a pattern of not being able to make decisions, and it’s remarkable given that we’re in the nation’s capital.”
 
Republicans have been critical of what they see as GSA’s slow pace in selling such properties as the Old Post Office Building, now leased to Donald Trump for conversion to a hotel, and the Georgetown West Heating Plant. The plant is being readied for purchase by a developer working with Four Seasons hotels to construct apartments as well a public park along the C&O Canal.
 
Efforts to sell off federal property often take more time than comparable private sector deals, some say because of bureaucratic inertia. Others cite laws requiring GSA to consult with other federal agencies, neighborhood groups, local government and advocates for the homeless who could have first claims to the property.

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