The Federal Trade Commission provided Congress with an update on the agency’s work to consolidate FTC staff currently housed in its two leased Washington D.C. satellite office locations into the Constitution Center building at 7th and D Streets SW.
Testifying on behalf of the Commission before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, FTC Executive Director David Robbins told lawmakers that the agency has been working very closely with the General Services Administration (GSA) to secure and build out space at Constitution Center, which is designed to house 905 employees currently located in office space at 601 New Jersey Avenue and 1800 M Street NW.
“The Commission believes that the new space is properly configured to sustain its mission in a cost effective manner, consistent with space utilization regulations and the Administration’s initiative to make more efficient use of the government’s real estate assets (known as “Freeze the Footprint”),” the testimony states.
The testimony notes that FTC staff moving to Constitution Center will have significantly smaller offices and less overall space than they have now. The agency is using an aggressive space utilization rate of 119 square feet per person, according to the testimony.
In addition to the consolidation of satellite office space, the Commission is aware that there is interest in housing all of the FTC's employees at the Constitution Center so that the FTC Headquarters Building can be given to the National Gallery of Art, the testimony states. However, as both GSA and the FTC have explained, this is neither physically nor financially feasible.
“Even if all of the FTC’s D.C. operations could be fit in the SW quadrant of Constitution Center, the costs to the American taxpayer would be prohibitive,” the testimony states. These costs include: the long-term cost of moving the FTC out of a federally owned building and into leased space; the immediate cost of moving the FTC out of its headquarters building and replicating the building’s mission-critical functions elsewhere; and the cost to American taxpayers of giving away federally owned property.
The FTC's historic headquarters building was designed and built for the FTC in 1938. The building is in good condition and needs no significant renovation, repair, or maintenance. The 76-year old building has up-to-date electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, which are in excellent working order.
“We will continue to work with Congress, GSA, and the Office of Management and Budget to complete construction of the Constitution Center space in a manner that maintains FTC’s effectiveness and efficiency,” the testimony states.
The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 4-0.
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