The Postal Service owns or leases 284 million square feet of building space. The IG report said that 24 percent of that is excess. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)
A quarter of the U.S. Postal Service's building space is excess and could generate more than $3.4 billion in savings over 10 years if the agency can get rid of it, according to an Aug. 26 report by the Postal Service inspector general.
The Postal Service owns or leases 284 million square feet of building space — of which 24 percent, or about 67 million square feet, is excess — according to the report. That amount of excess space could fit about 16 Mall of Americas.
The report said the Postal Service could lower leasing, custodial and utility costs if it works aggressively to reduce its real estate footprint.
While the Postal Service has said it wants to close unneeded post offices and mail processing plants, it disputes the IG's estimate of excess space as too high. It said it disagrees with the method used to calculate square footage.
Tom Samra, vice president of facilities at the Postal Service, said in a letter included in the IG report that optimization of space is critically important to the Postal Service.
The Postal Service goal is to reduce its real estate footprint by 2.8 million square feet — or about 1 percent — in fiscal 2011 by closing unneeded post offices and processing plants.
The report said the Postal Service should offer incentives to employees through the performance review process to effectively manage and use its space.