WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) today released a report presenting the findings of the Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group, which spent the last year identifying ways to advance utilization of the nation’s historic federal buildings through outleasing.
The Working Group focused on the leasing and use by nonfederal partners of federal historic buildings not needed in the near term by federal agencies, known as “outleasing.” The buildings that were the focus of this report are those that are included or eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Working Group assessed the status of outleasing, identified obstacles to increased outleasing, and developed recommendations for overcoming those obstacles. The three major recommendations—foster interagency coordination and administrative efficiencies; expand marketing and education; and, incentivize outleasing policies—are each accompanied by a series of action items. The ACHP will carry out these items to implement the report’s recommendations in cooperation with federal and nonfederal preservation partners over the coming months. The report also highlights agency outleasing successes nationwide.
“The ACHP’s Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings Working Group developed a blueprint for how the agency can assist federal agencies in making productive use of their underutilized historic buildings,” ACHP Vice Chairman Rick Gonzalez said. “Outleasing gives new life to these buildings, improving public access, contributing to local economies, and even transferring maintenance and capital improvement costs to partners in certain circumstances. This report serves to advance the ACHP’s larger mission of promoting the preservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of the nation’s diverse historic resources.”
Former ACHP Chairman Aimee Jorjani established the Working Group in late 2019. It includes representatives from six key federal agencies that manage significant and complex property holdings (General Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs [VA], and U.S. Postal Service) as well as leadership from two nonfederal preservation stakeholders (National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and National Trust for Historic Preservation), which are ACHP members.
Accompanying the release of the report, Vice Chairman Gonzalez spoke with an agency representative and business leaders in the ACHP’s podcast Preservation Perspectives to highlight a successful public-private outleasing partnership at the VA Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas, where they have adaptively reused 38 buildings within a VA-owned National Historic Landmark.
The ACHP encourages federal agencies that own such buildings, private entities that may benefit from leasing them, and any stakeholder interested in the use and retention of such buildings to read this report and support the recommended actions that will help facilitate the leasing of these important buildings. Go to our Leveraging Federal Historic Buildings web page, to learn more.