State Department:

Decision to Retain Embassy Parking Lot in Paris, France, Should Be Revisited

GAO-01-477: Published: Apr 13, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 2001.

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The U.S. government owns a 0.4-acre lot adjoining the U.S. ambassador's residence in a prime location in Paris, France. In 1998, the State Department's Office of the Inspector General reported that the property was underused and that using this high-value property was not economically justified. GAO found that State's decision in February 2000 to continue using the lot for parking was not based on a full consideration of security needs, secure parking alternatives, and the merits of selling the property. French authorities have indicated that the property is valuable and marketable. At a time when the State Department has billions of dollars of security construction and maintenance needs at its embassies and consulates around the world, the sale of the parking lot in Paris, France, should receive serious consideration if State can arrange alternative, cost-effective, and secure parking for official vehicles and if a purchaser would pay $10 million for the lot.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its report "State Department: Decision to Retain Embassy Parking Lot in Paris, France, Should Be Revisited" (GAO-01-477, April 13, 2001), GAO identified a U.S. government-owned building in Paris, France that could be sold. The Ambassador, in 2000, had proposed selling this building as part of a plan to improve security and reduce overall U.S. government real estate holdings in Paris. State at the time decided to retain and renovate this building, but later decided to sell it. This building, called Building D, was sold in June 2003 for $42.4 million.

    Matter: In view of State's position, Congress may wish to consider requiring that State perform a comprehensive study to determine the feasibility of selling the parking lot.


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