Disposal of Department of Defense Properties in Philadelphia

PLRD-82-124: Published: Sep 29, 1982. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1982.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the process and causes for delays in the disposal of three Department of Defense properties in Philadelphia: the Marine Corps Supply Center, the U.S. Naval Home, and the Frankford Arsenal.

GAO found four factors which delayed disposal of the properties: (1) priority given to transfers within the Federal Government; (2) competing interests among organizations attempting to obtain surplus Federal real property; (3) failure to achieve price agreement in negotiated sales; and (4) the need to decontaminate property to allow unrestricted use after disposal. The principal cause of delay was the failure of the General Services Administration (GSA) and the city of Philadelphia to reach agreement in negotiating a transfer of the properties from the Federal Government to the city. The second longest delay was caused by the GSA requirement to consider alternate Federal uses whenever they are identified; two of the properties were delayed for consideration of Federal transfers after the initial screening process had indicated no further Federal need for the property. Competing interests among non-Federal organizations desiring to obtain Federal property contributed the least to delay in disposing of these three properties. However, this problem may be one of greater magnitude in other cases because GSA attempts to seek a compromise among the competing applicants. In addition, while the problem of decontamination was confined to a single property in this case, it is a potential cause of delay in future property disposals.

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