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The U.S. General Services Administration
Historic Preservation Program

Since 1949, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has provided workspace to the civilian federal government, including federal agency offices, courthouses, custom houses, and post offices across the United States and its territories. GSA owns more than 464 historic buildings that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic buildings make up about 30% of GSA’s owned inventory. GSA leases space in 175 historic buildings. Please see GSA's Historic Buildings website for information on leading public architects, important architectural styles, and the history that shaped GSA's portfolio of historic buildings.

Given the size and significance of its historic building portfolio, leased property, and ongoing acquisition and disposition activities, GSA has become a national leader for compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA, 1966) and other stewardship directives including: Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment, Executive Order 11593 (1971); the Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act (1976); Federal Space Management, Executive Order 12072 (1978); Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in our Nation's Central Cities, Executive Order 13006 (1996); and Preserve America, Executive Order 13287 (2003).

GSA's Historic Preservation Program provides technical and strategic expertise to promote the viability, reuse, and integrity of historic buildings GSA owns, leases, or has the opportunity to acquire. The Center for Historic Buildings, under GSA's Office of the Chief Architect, develops prototype solutions and tools, and promotes best practice exchange to help GSA managers, project planners, and field operations staff to maintain and upgrade historic properties in a cost effective manner.

GSA's Historic Preservation Program also includes qualified Regional Historic Preservation Officers (RHPOs) and technical staff in each of GSA's 11 Regions. GSA staff work with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPOs), and other stakeholders to ensure that national and regional activities comply with applicable regulations, to determine whether historic property could be adversely affected by federal undertakings, and to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to historic properties.

For almost a decade, the GSA Liaison at the ACHP has served as a critical link between GSA's Historic Preservation Program and the ACHP. The GSA Liaison provides objective guidance to GSA in accordance with Section 106 of the NHPA and the ACHP's implementing regulations at 36 CFR § 800. Under the supervision of the ACHP's Office of Federal Agency Programs (OFAP) and the Federal Property Management Section (FPMS), the GSA Liaison also serves as policy coordinator for cultural resource management initiatives developed in conjunction with GSA. The GSA Liaison identifies preservation management issues and recommends solutions for consideration by GSA. Finally, the GSA Liaison serves as the principal ACHP staff contact in the Section 106 review of GSA undertakings with SHPOs, THPOs, and the public. Upon request, the GSA Liaison conducts briefings and workshops for GSA and client agencies. Recent efforts and accomplishments of the partnership between GSA and ACHP are noted below.

  • Consultation Assistance - The ACHP officially participated in consultations and executed agreements on the Rehabilitation, Seismic Upgrade, and Tenant Improvements of the Federal Building, 50 United Nations Plaza (San Francisco, CA); the Redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths National Historic Landmark and the Development of the United States Coast Guard Headquarters (Washington, DC); the Transfer by Sale and/or Ground Lease of Southeast Federal Center for Mixed-Use Development (Washington, DC); the Seismic Upgrade and Rehabilitation of the Pioneer Courthouse (Portland, OR); the Expansion of United States Court Facilities in Salt Lake City (Salt Lake City, UT); the Old Post Office Lease and Redevelopment (Washington, DC); and the Green Upgrade of the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building/Courthouse among others.

  • Guidance Issuance - To support compliance efforts associated with the disposal of real property, and with input from an inter-agency workgroup, ACHP developed and issuedGuidance on Use of Real Property Restrictions or Conditions in the Section 106 Process to Avoid Adverse Effects. Sometimes referred to as covenants or easements, preservation conditions are restrictions and conditions on transfers of federal real property, put in place prior to transfer and written in such a way that they are adequate and legally enforceable to ensure the long-term preservation of a historic property's historic significance.

  • Program Comment Issuance - In accordance with the Federal Agency Program Alternatives (36 CFR § 800.14(e)) and in response to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the ACHP issued a Program Comment on Select Envelope and Infrastructure Repairs and Upgrades to Historic Public Buildings, which corresponds to respective Technical Guidelines developed by GSA. The Program Comment was established to promote best preservation practices within GSA for ARRA-funded projects, as well as limited scope projects with other funding sources.

  • Regional Programmatic Agreements - To streamline consultation on regular real property activities, in accordance with Federal Agency Program Alternatives (36 CFR § 800.14(b)), GSA, the ACHP, and various SHPOs and consulting parties developed separate statewide Programmatic Agreement Regarding the Preservation, Maintenance, Rehabilitation, and Use of Historic Properties and Consideration of Historic Properties in Planning Activities (Region 4: AL, FL, GA, KY, MI, NC, SC, and TN and Region 9: AZ, CA, HI, NV); as well as regional Programmatic Agreements Regarding the Preservation, Maintenance, Rehabilitation, and Leasing of Historic Properties (Region 8: CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY); and finally the Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings (Region 11: DC).

  • NHPA Training - ACHP staff and the GSA Liaison continue their nationwide training efforts for GSA staff, SHPO and THPO staff, and the public. Please see the ACHP's training schedule for more information.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kirsten Brinker Kulis, GSA Liaison, at (202) 517-0217, by email at, or visit our staff directory.

More Information

Please see the ACHP’s Section 106 Success Stories, which illustrate the positive impact of Section 106 of the NHPA over the years. For detailed information on notable undertakings in the past, please see theACHP'sCase Digest.

To obtain copies of programmatic agreements or memoranda of agreement consulted upon in accordance with 36 CFR 800.14, please see the ACHP GSA database or the ACHP database. The database is organized according to the location of the historic properties addressed by the agreements (e.g. An agreement document for the state of New York would be found within the "Region 2" folder.). Note that these agreements should not be used as templates.

To learn more about GSA stewardship successes and challenges in improving and maintaining federal workspace, please see Extending the Legacy: GSA Historic Building Stewardship 2017. The publication is part of GSA's ongoing self-assessment of its stewardship responsibilities under the NHPA. In addition, it fulfilled, in part, GSA's reporting obligations under Preserve America, Executive Order 13287, issued in 2003 to improve federal stewardship accountability and promote heritage tourism. Please see GSA's Historic Preservation Program website for additional information.

Updated March 31, 2017

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