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GSA resumes contracting, property sales

Oct. 20, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

When the government shut down Oct. 1, the General Services Administration was forced to issue stop work orders for about 1,000 contracts totaling $1 billion in work, according to the agency.

The contracts included maintenance projects and a variety of services but excluded financial management systems such as the SmartPay credit card program, according to the agency.

GSA was able to reinstate most of the contracts Oct. 17, the first day of the government reopening.

GSA also had to suspend 120 real estate auctions and cancel planned open houses and outreach efforts, activities that will also resume, according to GSA spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara.

Alcantara said the shutdown forced the agency to take down the auction site and prevented prospective buyers from bidding. “We want to give bidders adequate time to bid now that we are back up and running,” she said.

One of those federal real estate auctions that got sidelined during the shutdown concerned a former 13,000-square-foot post office in Yankton, N.D. The building is now on track for a Nov. 12 close date. The project manager handling the property’s disposal was furloughed along with other GSA employees.

Dave Mingo, the community development director for Yankton, said the city was interested in having the vacant property redeveloped since it was close to downtown and was a good size.

“The shutdown has just delayed the opportunities in this regard,” Mingo said.

Many auctions have been restarted with new bidding deadlines, including:

■ The auction of a 22-acre site along a highway near Boston Heights, Ohio, with a minimum bid starting a $40,000. GSA has not set a new auction date yet.

■ The auction of nearly three acres of land near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where bidding was supposed to end Oct. 4, 2013 but will now end Oct. 21.

■ The auction of more than three acres of land in Brockport, N.Y., with a current bid of $50,000, which now closes Oct. 26.

As real estate markets have rebounded, the GSA is ramping up its sale of excess federal properties, with the proceeds from building sales increasing year-over-year.

“There is still more that needs to be done, and GSA is actively working with all federal landholding agencies to identify unneeded assets and move them into the disposal process,” Cruz said.

Kurt Stout, executive vice president for government solutions at real estate firm Colliers International, said budget cuts have hobbled GSA’s ability to meets its workload — and the shutdown will make it worse. He said it might take longer than the shutdown lasted before GSA catches up fully.

Chris Roth, international director for real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle, said GSA was close to awarding more leases before the shutdown and will need to wade through the background.

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