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GSA to consolidate space at federal courthouse

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The U.S. General Services Administration says it can save $5.02 million in San Diego by moving leased space into the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building and Courthouse in downtown San Diego.

GSA, which owns the federal building and courthouse, says it can save more than $5 million over the terms of the leases, although exact terms weren't available.

The U.S. Trustee Office, which administers bankruptcy cases and private trustees, occupies 10,039 square feet of leased space in Emerald Plaza at 402 West Broadway in San Diego. GSA has plans to consolidate the office into 9,008 square feet in the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building and Courthouse. Emerald Plaza is owned by Deutsch Asset & Wealth Management.

The consolidation of the Emerald Plaza space will save taxpayers $396,000 annually in government leasing costs and will save the U.S. Trustee Office $127,000 annually in rental payments.

"This project supports the proposed FY14 consolidation project at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building and Courthouse, but does not duplicate the work or scope requested as part of that request," the GSA wrote.

The Federal Protective Service, an agency of Homeland Security, has 7,025 square feet at 101 West Broadway in San Diego. This project plans to move the office into 6,500 square feet in the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building and Courthouse.

The project will backfill vacant federally owned space, eliminate the need for 7,025 square feet at a cost of $257,000 annually, and save the Federal Protective Service about $72,000 annually in rental payments. The building is owned by The Irvine Co.

The GSA did not mention the 57,004-square-foot lease for the U.S. Probation Office at 101 West Broadway that is scheduled to expire in January.

The GSA, which says it will save about $70 million across the country, has identified 19 areas where the agency will work for itself or with other federal agencies to consolidate into federally owned space.

"This consolidation effort will not only reduce costs by eliminating multiple leases, but also scale back the federal government's energy and water consumption," the GSA wrote.

"GSA is also revolutionizing workplace efficiency by creating open workspaces, which eliminate the traditional four-walled office and provide staff the flexibility to work wherever their team is located. This encourages creative collaboration and increased productivity with less square footage."

This investment will save federal agencies $17 million in annual rent payments and reduce the federal footprint by 507,000 rentable square feet, plus reduce the government's leasing costs by more than $38 million.

"As public servants we have a responsibility to serve the American people as effectively and efficiently as possible," said GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini in a statement.

"By consolidating these locations, we are not just eliminating redundant rents and space, but also encouraging collaboration among government workers by creating open workspace. We're ushering in a new day for office space throughout the federal government."

The largest savings — $14.4 million — will come from consolidating leased-into-owned space at the Austin Federal Courthouse in Texas. Washington, D.C. offices will move into the Mary E. Switzer Building, saving $10.38 million; and into owned space at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, saving $6.74 million.

The General Services Administration is an independent federal agency that manages federal property, operates and maintains buildings, supplies, transportation acquisition and communications.

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