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Managing 4M Square Feet—Under 1 Roof

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

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Saddled with a gargantuan facility and an earful of criticism over how it has been run, federal landlords are seeking fresh ideas for their biggest operational challenge.

The General Services Administration has issued a request for information for alternatives to manage the mammoth Ronald Reagan Building / International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The nearly 4 million-square-foot facility is the only federally owned property to house both public- and private-sector tenants. The $768 million building was the most expensive federal building ever constructed and is third in size only to the Pentagon and the new headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security.


The GSA is seeking alternative ways to manage the 4-million-square-foot Ronald Reagan Building / International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

Though the ITC is structurally a part of the larger Ronald Reagan Building, it is legally distinct and is managed and operated through a third-party contractor.

Darren Blue, regional commissioner for GSA’s building service, said the agency wanted to find “a better way to manage the public-serving portions of the facility.”

The GSA will host an information session Jan. 21 and accept feedback until Feb. 20. The government will gauge the "breadth and depth of interest expressed" and then decided whether to proceed with a Request for Proposals (RFP).

Management Criticisms

The ITC’s longtime manager, Trade Center Management Associates LLC, has faced criticism from the GSA’s own inspector general.

The biggest structure in the federal portfolio, the Ronald Reagan Building opened in 1998. It was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners of New York, in association with Ellerbe Becket.

An internal audit issued in 2010 found a plethora of problems, including lack of oversight, an “unwieldy” agreement, “excessive and unwarranted compensation,” and a number of procurement irregularities, according to a report on

The inspector general issued another audit in 2012 that echoed some of the same problems, the report said. Additionally, auditors found that the GSA had been overpaying for interagency parking at the Reagan Building and may be owed $2.8 million by TCMA, the report noted.

(The building has the city’s largest below-grade parking garage, which accommodates approximately 1,950 vehicles.)

The contract with TCMA was signed in 2008 and has been renewed annually through one-year add-on options that run out at the end of 2018.

Construction, Opening

Designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners of New York, in association with Ellerbe Becket of Washington, D.C. the Ronald Reagan Building began construction in 1990.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

The Ronald Reagan Building was draped in black and images of its namesake after his death in 2004.

In 1995, Congress voted unanimously to name the building after President Ronald Reagan, a champion of small government who signed the legislation authorizing its construction.

The building opened its doors on May 5, 1998.


Tagged categories: Building operations; Business matters; Facility Managers; General Services Administration; Government; Government contracts; North America; Program/Project Management

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