Dan M. Tangherlini, acting administrator of the GSA, speaks Dec. 20 at a breakfast meeting of the DC Building Industry Association at the National Press Club in Washington. (Mike Morones / Federal Times)
The General Services Administration’s Federal Triangle project could spur the transformation of southwest Washington, just as the new Transportation Department building has done on the southeast waterfront, acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini told developers Thursday.
The project — which seeks partnerships with the private sector to redevelop more than 3 million square feet of federal office space and furnish more shopping and dining choices — could be a “once in several lifetimes opportunity to fundamentally re-imagine” an otherwise sterile swath of the city not far from the Capitol, Tangherlini said.
Earlier this month, GSA issued a request for information on ideas for how to redevelop the area without large upfront costs. Budget pressures and changing government space needs offer the chance to revitalize the area and “contribute to the economic development,” Tangherlini told bankers, real estate brokers and other business people at a breakfast forum hosted by the District of Columbia Building Industry Association.
The proposed project would entail moving more than 14,600 employees working for the Energy Department, Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies. It comes as agencies are being squeezed between tightening budgets and mounting upkeep and overhead expenses.
It cost $20 million last year to bring a single floor of the FAA headquarters up to modern office standards, Tangherlini said, while the Energy Department’s building annually wastes enough energy to power almost 300 homes for a year. At the same time, 40 percent of employees at GSA’s regional office in the area are typically out of the building teleworking or at meetings elsewhere, he added.
“We cannot continue to do business as usual,” Tangherlini said. “We must look for new ways to maximize the value of our assets.”