The District of Columbia Should Assess Its Needs Before It Makes Major Acquisitions of Space

GGD-82-27: Published: Mar 2, 1982. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1982.

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In a GAO review of the District of Columbia's management of its owned and leased space, District employees knowledgeable about the District's space management were interviewed, and reports and studies relating to space management were analyzed.

The District's Department of General Services (DGS) could not provide documentation of its reviews of District agencies' space requests, nor was documentation of the District's leasing practices available. To reduce the city's leasing costs, in 1980 the District began looking for school buildings that could be used for office space. So far, the conversion of only one school has been agreed upon, although officials are optimistic that agreement can be reached on other school conversions. A survey to identify available school space has begun. Major problems with the city's management of space have been noted. Although many studies have raised questions about underused space, they have not been accurate or recent enough to give the District the complete space utilization information that it needs. DGS formed a task force to help develop a space management reporting system. To reduce reliance on leased facilities, DGS plans to: construct a municipal office building; acquire two buildings now being leased; renovate vacant school buildings into office space; consolidate activities into underused properties; and introduce legislation to clarify the Mayor's jurisdiction over District buildings and grounds. GAO found that the District is improving its space management system. However, the city does not know the extent of its underused space and total space needs and, without this information, it cannot determine the advisability of acquiring additional space or how much space must be acquired to achieve the city's goal of eliminating most leased facilities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia should declare a moratorium on the acquisition of significant new leased or owned office, warehouse, and storage space until the District implements its space management reporting system, completes its comprehensive space utilization survey, and analyzes the survey results.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia


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