Landlord GSA posts information on federal properties for sale and lease

Landlord GSA posts information on federal properties for sale and lease

Use of the GSA property database is free, but the rest of the American Community Network site requires a paid subscription.

The General Services Administration, the nation's largest landlord, has established an online database of 8,000 government-owned or-leased properties.

'It's an opportunity for [real estate] brokers and others interested in offering buildings to us to find out when leases are expiring,' said Brian Polly, acting assistant commissioner for portfolio management in GSA's Public Buildings Service.

It also lets the public know when federally owned or occupied buildings go on sale.

American Community Network, owned by ExpansionLab Inc. of Atlanta, hosts the site at www.acn.net/gsa.

Polly said he chose ACN as the host because he had earlier, in his capacity as assistant commissioner for property disposal, used it to list government buildings for sale or lease. ACN also hosts databases of U.S. economic and demographic information that are helpful in site selection.

'It lends itself to what we're trying to accomplish,' Polly said.

The ACN databases contain at least 2,500 data points for each U.S. county and metropolitan area. They cover demographics, education, labor force, power costs, quality of life, salaries, taxes, incentives, transportation and union presence, ACN president Chuck Branch said.

'If you want to position government buildings for sale or lease to the right people, this is the way to do it,' Branch said.

ACN gathers the community information from Census Bureau data, other public databases and third-party sources. About half of the information is free.

Branch said there was demand for the GSA database from the public and from legislators.

GSA was 'inundated with phone calls from businesses wanting to know what buildings were up for lease in their areas, and from members of Congress wanting to know what leases were up in their districts,' he said.

The listings, searchable by congressional district, include information about representatives and senators for each location.

GSA provided the raw data to ACN on disk, and the company developed the Microsoft SQL Server 7 database. Use of the GSA property database is free, but the rest of the ACN site requires a paid subscription. For that reason, there are no direct links from GSA property listings to the community profiles. GSA officials were uncomfortable with the idea of driving traffic to a paid service, Branch said.

Feds: preferred customers

Tabs on the Web pages let subscribers quickly search for the appropriate profiles, however.

Branch said he hopes to expand the service with a governmentwide license for federal employees to access ACN's proprietary databases. He also wants to secure property listings for other large federal landholders such as the Defense Department, the Postal Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Polly said regional GSA representatives have gotten several inquiries about properties since the database went up in mid-July. 'We're hoping to get more contacts,' he said.

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