2006 Buildings Census: Government Owners

Sept. 7, 2006
Facilities/support departments in federal government agencies

Follow our list of many of the leading industry players, with information specific to their operations, real estate holdings, and services. For ease of use, the Buildings Census is divided into five general categories: Building Ownership and Development (firms that develop, own, and/or manage properties); Building Management (third-party management firms that handle real estate properties for others); Corporate Real Estate (facilities departments within major corporations that handle the company’s real estate activities); Institutional Owners (facilities/physical plant departments responsible for the real estate needs of major healthcare and educational organizations); and Government Agencies (facilities/physical plant/support services departments responsible for the real estate needs of federal government-related agencies).    

While every attempt has been made to make The A List and the Buildings Census as complete and correct as possible, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this online information.

**NOTE: Numbers in parentheses refer to square feet in millions. The asterisk indicates that information was provided directly to Buildings magazine.

Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.
(800) 827-1000

From 54 hospitals in 1930, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now owns, occupies, and operates one of the largest healthcare-related real estate portfolios in the United States. The portfolio, valued at $35 billion, includes more than 1,300 sites of care, including 875 ambulatory-care and community-based outpatient clinics, 136 nursing homes, 43 residential rehabilitation-treatment programs, 206 Veterans Centers, and 88 comprehensive home-care programs. The VA also manages the largest medical education and health professions training program in the United States. VA facilities are affiliated with 107 medical schools, 55 dental schools, and more than 1,200 other schools nationwide. The President’s 2007 budget request includes $714 million in capital funding for the VA. Within that request, $399 million will be devoted to major construction projects - primarily medical facility projects in Denver, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Columbia, MO, as well as seismic projects in Long Beach, CA, and American Lake, WA. The request also includes $198 million for minor construction, $85 million in grants for the construction of state extended-care facilities, and $32 million in grants for the construction of state veterans’ cemeteries. Appropriations are down from the past 2 years. The 2005 appropriation of $836.7 million included $16.5 million in hurricane funding. Hurricane fallout also affected FY06 appropriations; of the $1.3 billion earmarked for VA construction programs, $369.3 million was additional funding related to hurricanes.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons
Washington, D.C.
(202) 307-3198

At the time of its inception in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Prisons oversaw humane, consistent, and centralized administration of 11 prisons. Today, the system consists of 82 federal correctional institutions, 12 federal correctional complexes, 11 private facilities, six regional offices, one central office complex, two training centers, and 29 community corrections-management offices in six regions. The bureau is responsible for the custody and care of approximately 185,000 federal offenders; about 85 percent of these inmates are confined in bureau-operated correctional facilities or detention centers, and the rest are confined through agreements with state and local governments or through contracts with privately operated community corrections centers, detention centers, prisons, and juvenile facilities. The bureau’s FY06 budget for new construction is $48.1 million, and $51.8 for modernization and repair. The proposed new construction budget for 2007 is $26 million, while the request for modernization and repair totals $91 million.

General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service*
Washington, D.C.
(202) 501-1100

The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Buildings Service (PBS) is the largest public real estate organization in the nation and provider of workspace and workplace solutions to more than 100 federal departments and agencies. This customer-driven organization can rapidly accommodate the changing space needs of its customers by delivering a complete array of acquisition and disposal services for vendor management, special support operations, and consulting services. Eleven regional PBS offices in major metropolitan centers across the country deliver comprehensive real estate services. In FY05, PBS was 10.5-percent below private-sector benchmarks for operating office buildings, reduced the vacancy rate of its inventory to 4.1 percent (a record low), and awarded leases at 9.2-percent below market comparable. GSA is the first agency to be recognized by the Bush Administration for achieving “green” status on the Presidential Management Agenda scorecard in Federal Real Property Asset Management. PBS achieved the green status by improving utilization by 3.4 percent over the past 5 years, maintaining operating costs at 12-percent below market, and disposing of 85 assets in its inventory since 2002. Additionally, 75 percent of the agency’s inventory exceeds Federal Real Property Council standards for facility condition. 8,920 Government Buildings*: 342.6 million square feet. Dollar Volume of Spending in 2006 Devoted/Estimated Toward Facilities*: Capital, $2.5 billion; Operational, $2 billion. Projects in New Construction and/or Modernization (Completed in 2006)*: New Construction, 146,750 square feet (two projects); Modernization, 2.8 million square feet (five projects). Projects in New Construction and/or Modernization (Completed Beyond 2006)*: New Construction, 33.8 million square feet (72 projects); Modernization, 55.3 million square feet (98 projects). Number of Professionals Involved Full Time in Facilities*: 5,945.

Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.
(202) 633-1000

Since 2001, the “nation’s attic” has focused not only on preserving the multitude of treasures stored within the wall of its 19 hallowed museums, but also on the museums themselves. The Smithsonian Institution’s Facilities Capital Program underpins the institution’s overall mission and represents a vital investment in the long-term interest of the nation. A professional engineering study, Smithsonian Institution Museums and Facilities: Critical Assessment and Improvement Objectives, published in 2001, established a $1.5-billion requirement for the capital revitalization of Smithsonian facilities over a decade. The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) confirmed these findings. Additionally, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in April 2005 confirmed that the institution still needs an investment of $1.6 billion for revitalization and construction in the next 10 years, including requirements for anti-terrorism modifications that weren’t an issue in earlier studies. The Smithsonian’s FY07 request for its Facilities Capital Management program is $107 million. This request represents an increase of $8.5 million from the 2006 appropriation, and includes $91.1 million for revitalization, $5.4 million for construction, and $10.5 million for facilities planning and design. Some of the 2007 strategic goals include improving the overall condition of Smithsonian buildings, with at least 35 percent of square footage of structures receiving a Facilities Condition Index (FCI) score of three or higher; increasing the average FCI to 2.3 for buildings with major revitalization funding; and reducing the $1.5-billion backlog of revitalization requirements. The Smithsonian Institution also runs nine research centers and is affiliated with 144 museums nationwide. It houses more than 136 million objects, artworks, and specimens, and boasts a roster of 2.1 million members.

Public Works and Government Services Canada
Hull, QC, Canada
(800) 622-6232

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) powers the Canadian government, supporting the daily operations of nearly 140 federal departments and agencies. PWGSC provides these departments and agencies with real property services, such as office accommodation, property management, and architectural and engineering services. It manages more than $7 billion in government real property holdings and manages about 2,100 lease contracts with annual rents totaling around $710 million annually. The portfolio includes 72.1 million square feet, of which 51.6 percent is owned and 48.4 percent is leased. The agency also provides professional and technical services to departments and agencies for the acquisition, development, construction, management, operation, maintenance, repair, and disposal of real property. PWGSC boasts a strong record of sustainable development achievement and expertise. Between 1990 and 2003, the agency cut the Canadian government’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 24 percent through upgrades of office building energy efficiency. PWGSC’s inventory is 34-percent more energy efficient than it was in 1990. A new Office of Greening Government Operations will provide government-wide leadership on issues such as green procurement, green property management, recycling and waste management, and remediation of contaminated sites. PWGSC notes that it is committed to meeting LEED Silver, and will strive for LEED Gold in all new buildings. The agency’s work in telecommunications and informatics encompasses $500 million in services and covers management of 250 major software applications, five large-scale computer data centers, and three Government of Canada check-production centers, handling 120 million mailings each year.

The U.S. Postal Service
Washington, D.C.
(800) 275-8777

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) controls more than 34,000 leased or owned facilities in the United States, its possessions, and territories. The agency also contracts with about 3,000 distribution locations. The size of USPS facilities ranges from as small as 50 square feet to as large as 35.3 acres under a single roof. The USPS has 675 processing and distribution facilities, and more than 1,000 other types of facilities, including administrative, support, and vehicle-maintenance facilities. Its 2005 real estate inventory includes 25,772 leased facilities; 8,399 owned facilities; and 417 GSA/other government facilities. The agency’s total capital commitment plan for 2006 is $2.9 billion, with cash outlays planned at $2.4 billion, of which approximately $1.8 billion is for commitments made in prior years and $600 million for new commitments in 2006. Of the USPS’ 44 active, board-approved projects at the end of 2005, 24 were for mail-processing equipment, eight were for facilities, and 12 were for other projects (such as retail equipment and information-infrastructure support). These projects total about $6.4 billion in approved capital. Future capital plans call for developing and implementing new automation equipment to increase operating efficiency. The facilities program will continue to address life, health, safety, and security issues. The USPS predicts annual average growth of approximately 2 million delivery points and notes that, to maintain quality operations and efficiency, it must maintain its infrastructure with high-priority replacement projects and ongoing repair and alteration projects.

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