Development Magazine Winter 2010

On Business - Tips for Working With the GSA

Thomas H. Walker, PE, managing principal, Thomas H. Walker Consultants LLC, spoke at a Development ’10 panel on industrial and office tenants, offering these tips and insights for working with the General Services Administration (GSA):

  • The emphasis is on existing space.
  • The GSA is pressing for better deals in the marketplace, especially for renewals.
  • FBI deals are usually build-to-suit because of heavy security requirements but it will pay a lump sum in order to make the deal work.
  • A GSA regional commissioner can do a deal without asking anyone on transactions below $2.8 million in annual rent.
  • There is greater emphasis on a GSA deal being within a central business district.
  • The GSA requires LEED Silver for everything except EPA and DOE projects for which it wants LEED Gold and sometimes LEED Platinum.
Thomas Walker

Thomas Walker

  • When buying GSA developments, the buyer is paying a significant lease cap rate premium.
  • GSA has a 20-year limit on lease deals but it will renew them 98 percent of the time so that such a deal is in effect a 40-year deal. GSA will only move generally for three reasons: 1) the requirement no longer fits in the building; 2) closure of an agency in a particular locale (be careful of IRS deals because technology will force the agency to get smaller in the future); and 3) and poor building management.
  • Do it their way! To do a GSA deal, be prepared to do it the GSA way or not at all.

From the Archives: Business / Trends Articles from the Previous Issue

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A veritable tsunami of technological change is sweeping over every business including those in commercial real estate. You can keep up with that change, adjust your business accordingly and profit from it, or fall behind.

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Launching a Commercial Real Estate Career 

Melissa Goins didn’t have prior experience or a background in commercial real estate but that minor detail didn’t hold her back from an ideal opportunity to discover the industry. Goins is a member of the inaugural 2004 class of Associates in Commercial Real Estate program at Marquette University.