Federal Buildings:

Comparison of Oakland and San Francisco Alternatives

GGD-87-79BR: Published: May 15, 1987. Publicly Released: May 15, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO: (1) reviewed three studies comparing the construction of a new federal building in Oakland, California, to the acquisition of a new building under construction in San Francisco, California; (2) determined the impact that a move to Oakland would have on employees currently working in San Francisco; and (3) determined what additional space requirements would exist in San Francisco if the Oakland building were constructed as planned.

GAO found that: (1) none of the cost comparisons provided a reliable, complete comparison of the two buildings, since information needed to develop all life-cycle costs was not available for either building; (2) none of the studies were totally accurate, since they made assumptions on factors important in determining the final cost advantage; and (3) key discrepancies between the cost comparisons concerned the amount of useable square footage in the San Francisco building, the tenant occupancy date, the handling of lease costs for those agencies which would move into the Oakland building but could not occupy the smaller San Francisco building, and the qualitative features of the two buildings. GAO also found that: (1) approximately 2,900 employees working in leased space in San Francisco are scheduled to move to Oakland; (2) a General Services Administration (GSA) study on the impact of the move to Oakland showed that 61 percent of the sampled employees could incur additional commuting costs and time, while 39 percent would either benefit by reduced commuting costs and time or would not be affected; (3) the study indicated that employees in grades GS-7 or below could be more adversely affected than employees above GS-7; (4) GSA will still need to lease space in San Francisco if the Oakland project is built as planned; and (5) GSA officials believe that the Oakland project represents a potential solution to the problem of rising national lease costs. GAO concluded that GSA reasonably proceeded with the construction of the new building in Oakland.

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