FTC Commissioners Send Letter to Leaders of the House Transportation Committee Expressing Concerns with Resolution Directing GSA Administrator to Prepare Plan for Costly Relocation Out of Historic FTC Headquarters Building

Move Would Impose Well Over $100 Million in Wholly Unnecessary Costs

For Release

The four sitting bipartisan Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission sent the following letter to the leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expressing concerns with a resolution directing the GSA Administrator to prepare a plan for relocating the agency out of its historic headquarters building.

The Honorable John L. Mica
Chairman
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nick Joe Rahall II
Ranking Member
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Jeff Denham
Chairman
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency
Management
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency
Management
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

As Members of the bipartisan Federal Trade Commission, we write to express
our grave concern with the proposed Committee Resolution, to be considered
tomorrow, directing the Administrator of General Services to work on a plan to move the
FTC headquarters and its other Washington, DC operations into Constitution Center, a
privately-owned building at 400 7th Street, SW. To require the agency to move out of its
historic headquarters building at 600 Pennsylvania, NW, which still suits the agency and
its mission, would impose well over $100 million in wholly unnecessary costs. This
unprecedented giveaway would be completely contrary to the interests of American
taxpayers, especially in this time of fiscal austerity.

As you are aware, underlying this proposal is a plan to transfer the FTC's historic
headquarters building – a valuable federal asset – to provide the space for a major
expansion of the National Gallery of Art. The National Gallery's two existing buildings
were paid for with private funds, while the FTC Building is owned by the taxpayers. The
building was recently appraised at a value of between $92 and $95 million. We are
aware of no precedent for ousting a federal agency from a federally-owned building that
fully meets its needs into privately-owned space.

Moreover, we have estimated the cost to move the FTC out of its headquarters
building alone at between $60 and $80 million. Because this headquarters move would
be to private, leased space, these considerable moving costs could recur every time the
lease expires.

Finally, while the FTC has worked with GSA to cut its space requirements to
meet new, reduced space standards for federal agencies, it is completely infeasible for
the FTC to shoehorn its entire Washington, DC operation into the available space at
Constitution Center.

We urge you to consider the costs to American taxpayers as you review this
matter.

Sincerely,

Jon Leibowitz
Chairman

J. Thomas Rosch
Commissioner

Edith Ramirez
Commissioner

Julie Brill
Commissioner

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180