The Obama administration has been forced to scrap ambitious plans announced last summer to sell off thousands of government buildings after conceding they were unworkable. The White House will shift from a plan involving a case-by-case evaluation of the properties and replace it with a commission made up of private and public sector experts, The Washington Post reports
The new commission will be tasked with finding $15 billion in savings. An official said that the plans announced last year were insufficient to me the goal of significantly cutting federal building costs by the end of fiscal year 2012, the Post said.
Of the more than 1 million buildings the government owns around the world about 14,000 are vacant and 55,000 underused. The government’s attempts to unload these properties has been criticized by government auditors citing such cases as buildings in California and Missouri that were declared surplus in 2002 but were still in government hands in 2009, the Post reported.
Commercial real estate experts are also skeptical of the amount of savings cited, noting many of the properties are old and situated in poor locations. Even buildings in good locations are not selling at top dollar. A building in downtown Bethesda, Md., sold at $1.5 million below asking price last summer, the Post said.
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