The U.S. Postal Service owns roughly 8,400 properties and leases more than 23,000 others with annual rents totaling more than $800 million. Yet, the Postal Service has “excess space” — property or space not used or needed.
Under the Federal Property Management Reform Act (FPMRA) of 2016, the Postal Service is required to identify and submit to Congress a list of properties with space available for use by federal agencies. The law also directs us, the Office of Inspector General, to submit to Congress within two years of the Act a report that includes a survey of USPS excess property and recommendations for repurposing it.
In a September 2017 report to Congress, the Postal Service identified 369 properties with over 1.2 million square feet of excess space. Our recent audit fulfilling our responsibility reported that the Postal Service’s report was generally accurate, noting, however, that of those 369 facilities, only 317 properties (86 percent) actually had excess space, totaling just under 1.2 million square feet.
Our report recognized there may be unique challenges to reducing excess space at each of the facilities reported to Congress. However, opportunities exist for repurposing excess postal space to:
- Improve utilization of federal properties;
- Lower the number of excess and underutilized properties; and
- Improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the Postal Service’s real estate portfolio.
We recommended the USPS Vice President, Facilities, increase collaboration with the General Services Administration in identifying opportunities to co-locate with other federal agencies and to identify viable business opportunities to reduce excess space.
What business opportunities do you see for that excess space?