The GSA 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 500 historic buildings that are listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Historic buildings make up more than 30% of GSA’s owned inventory. GSA leases space in 164 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 amendments) 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.
The ACHP-GSA Partnership
For more than 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 Part 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 detailed here. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kirsten Brinker Kulis, GSA Liaison, at (202) 517-0217, by email at email@example.com.
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 ask the GSA Liaison for information on one of ACHP's former publications, the Case 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 (COMING SOON!) or the ACHP Digital Library and enter relevant search terms. 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.
James J. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building, San Francisco, CA (Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc./GSA)
Former Old Post Office Building, Washington, D.C. (Hoachlander Davis Photography/GSA)
U.S. Custom House Philadelphia, PA (Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc./GSA)
Strom Thurmond Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Columbia, S.C. (Carol M. Highsmith Photography Inc./GSA)
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, New York, N.Y. (Carol M. Highsmith Photography, Inc./GSA)