Federal Government Real Estate Leasing Policies

Sep 19, 2018

Real Estate Leasing Policies of the US Federal Government

By Jamie Scruggs, Government Lease Advisors

The long-term health of a government’s real estate portfolio-the taxpayers’ portfolio-is driven by its real estate policies. These policies are typically initiated by the executive or administrative branches of a government agency. At the federal level, the president’s administration sets its agenda for the real estate portfolio using input form the US General Services (GSA). The US GSA, which provides real estate services to most agencies of the federal government, is often tasked with implementing and codifying the executive branch’s agenda through real estate policy directives that federal agencies then follow. At the state and local levels real estate policy is driven more by the long-term goals of the individual agency’s real estate needs along with being responsive to the shifts in both the economies and population demographics of these states and local governments.

Not all federal agencies use the GSA for their real estate leasing services. While the GSA owns and leases over 427 million square feet of office and warehouse space in 8,705 buildings domestically, there are, according to GSA’s FY 2013 Federal Real Property Profile (FRPP) Summary Data (Data Set), 18 federal agencies reporting owned and leased holdings in FY 2013 that do not include the GSA in their real estate representation figures. These 18 federal agencies occupied almost three billion square feet of owned and leased space in 344,579 buildings around the world. In 2015, the GSA published its FY 2014  FRPP data with domestic and US territory numbers only, which is a departure from previous years, which had included most global figures for the portfolio. The FY 2014 FRPP compared to the FY 2013 FRPP shows a smaller pool of properties when compared to the entire global US federal government owned and leased inventory.

Not included in the GSA’s FY 2014 Data Set are real estate inventory numbers for the US Postal Service (USPS). In 2015, the USPS reported a real estate inventory of 194,220,453 square feet of owned space in 8,524 owned buildings along with an inventory of 78,144,453 square feet of leased space in 23,314 leased properties. Also not included in the FY 2014 Data Set are the federally owned and managed public domain lands. In 2012 the Department of the Interior reported that federally owned and managed lands, including public-domain lands, equal almost 629 million acres; this amounts to almost 28 percent of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. This is a massive portfolio of property for the federal government to own, lease, and manage. By some accounts, the US federal government ranks fourth globally in the amount of owned land and property, behind the holdings of the Queen of England, China, and Russia.

This article is published as part of an on-going series on government real estate leasing.

Jamie Scruggs is a nationally recognized expert on GSA leases and works with property owners and brokers on government real estate leases and property sales throughout the US. Jamie has been involved in thousands of government real estate leases and can assist you with your government real estate lease needs. Jamie is the author of The Complete Guide to Government Real Estate Leasing: Volumes I & II.

Jamie can be reached at 202-587-5654, jamie@govleaseadvisors.com.