Consolidation of United States Information Agency Activities in Washington, D.C.

PLRD-83-13: Published: Jan 13, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 1983.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed several aspects of the proposed partial consolidation of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) in a new building in Washington, D.C. The resulting report: (1) examined the timing of a proposal to consolidate USIA activities in a new building; (2) examined the alterations made shortly before the lease expired in a building presently occupied by USIA and the plan for continued occupancy of that building; and (3) compared the estimated cost of relocating and consolidating activities in the new building over the expected lease term with the estimated cost of remaining at the present facilities for a similar period.

GAO found that the consolidation should result in more efficient agency operations and space utilization and is consistent with Federal Property Management Regulations, law, and Executive orders. When the General Services Administration (GSA) contracted for alterations at a building presently occupied by USIA, no move was contemplated by USIA and, therefore, the residual investment in these alterations will be lost when USIA vacates the building. The lease has expired on that building and USIA has continued to occupy the building on a holdover basis. The GAO analysis of the relocation plan showed that the undiscounted savings over a 10-year period that could be realized by relocation could be as much as $12.16 million. However, it is difficult to make a precise estimate of savings because of the variables involved. GAO believes that GSA should have prepared a written solicitation for offers for the space needs and justified noncompetitive negotiations without advertising before entering into negotiations for the lease.

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 Administrator of General Services should, in view of the changes in the number of employees and activities to be assigned to the new building at 400 C Street, SW, Washington, D.C., survey space assigned to USIA headquarters to assure the efficient and effective use of space and make an adjustment, if warranted, to the space assigned.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration


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