The U.S. Government Accountability Office has found there is limited use of public-private partnerships in the management and disposal of underutilized government real property.
GAO said Tuesday General Services Administration officials stated GSA reviews public-private partnerships on a case-by-case basis and partnerships are considered for fewer than 10 cases every year.
Those officials also told GAO that GSA needs more expertise and organizational experience to negotiate public-private partnerships.
GAO noted GSA’s partnership practices include long-term agreements for a private party to manage a piece of property through a certain period of time and swap exchanges in which a developer gains the federal property title in exchange for construction or renovation services.
GSA also engages in negotiated sales where the property recipient may be obligated to complete requirements or activities as a condition of the sale, GAO said.
Stakeholders told GAO partnerships could help agencies obtain support services and facilities without issuing funds.
Auditors noted partnerships may not address challenges such as costs associated with property value assessments and environmental remediation expenses.
GAO’s high-risk list includes federal real property management due to issues agencies face with property management such as the disposal of unneeded property.