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The third item is Bronx, N.Y., a city block bordered by Fordham Road, East 138th Street, and, if I understand this correctly, the Post Office has withdrawn from your proposed project in the Bronx, stating that they do not have need for it, and yet the interim agreement would seem to make interim agreement for this land to be turned over to the Post Office.
Mr. BARTH. If I could talk to that point, the provision of paragraph 14 recognizes basically two things.
It recognizes that the Postal Service is under no obligation to take that site, which is the phrase, "if the Post Office agrees."
And, it also recognizes the fact that we could not, either GSA could not, by virtue of this agreement, usurp the authority which is under the President under 2002(d).
Mr. CONSTANDY. You knew you could not usurp the powers of the President anyway, did you not?
Mr. BARTH. Yes, sir.
Mr. BARTH. No, sir; I think the agreement points out that whatever happens to those sites, the Bronx site, or any other sites, if the Post Office wants them, it is up to the President to say when they will go, and at what price. Mr. KREGER. If I may, Mr. Constandy, let me read a letter from Mr.
a Lehne on November 13, 1970, relating to this site.
Mr. CONSTANDY. All right. Mr. KREGER. This is to Mr. Sampson. Thank you for your letter of October 23, 1970, from Acting Commissioner Sanders. In his letter, Mr. Sanders said that the proposed site for the proposed Post Office and Federal Office Building in the Bronx, New York City, would be retained by GSA for possible use by the Postal Service.
He said that he would appreciate receiving a decision within 30 days because of the intense Congressional and public interest in the Bronx project and in the use of the site.
We have given this matter careful consideration both in our New York Regional Office and here at headquarters. It is our conclusion that the Postal Service will require this site for one or more Postal facilities. It is not certain at this time just what type of facility or facilities will be constructed on this site.
Currently under consideration is a new Fordham station to replace the existing Fordham station now located at 420 East 189th Street, a vehicle maintenance facility, and a central nonpreferential mail facility.
Our final decision could involve one or more of the possible uses. We are proceeding to complete our study as rapidly as possible, and will advise you when it has been completed. Sincerely,
HENRY LEHNE, Assistant Postmaster General. Mr. CONSTANDY. That came around in a complete circle. You began with the prospect of putting up a building that you were going to fund and build, in which they would occupy 67 percent of the space.
They write you and say they do not need that kind of space any more, and they are withdrawing from it, and yet the provision is made for the transfer of the property and the land from GSA to the Postal Service, and the letter would suggest that they had firm plans to go ahead with some project there.
Does not this raise the problem where you address your statement, where your interest is avoiding putting up two buildings in a city instead of one?
Mr. KREGER. Well, their scope and size of their buildings changes just as GSA does, but they now may have a use for two buildings which would be utilized.
Mr. WRIGHT. The Postal Service is going to take this property in the Bronx?
Mr. KREGER. They have indicated to us that they would like to have us hold it for them in the possibility that they could use it for one of three uses, as indicated in the letter.
Mr. WRIGHT. What will happen if the Postal Service decides it wants this land? Will you sell the land to the Postal Service, or will you give the land to the Postal Service?
Mr. KREGER. I think, according to this agreement here, it says, subject to the President's approval, it will be transferred to the Postal Service under 39 U.S.C. 2002 (d) with or without reimbursement."
Mr. WRIGHT. With or without?
Mr. WRIGHT. Well, I think I have to return to the comment earlier, that with considerably greater negotiating flexibility that seems to reside in the Postal Service, you are, to a large extent, at their mercy in any of these transactions.
Mr. KREGER. No; it says the President decides this issue.
Mr. WRIGHT. The President decides what the Postal Service pays the Government for the land, or whether it will be given to the Postal Service!
Mr. KREGER. Right
Mr. WRIGHT. Now, this is still another category, distinct from those we have earlier discussed. We have discussed the estimated $1.6 billion worth of buildings, 2,780 of them, which have been given to the Postal Service by the Government, and we have discussed what will happen in the future when the Postal Service will purchase buildings from the Government. And whether there would be reimbursement to the Government, we do not know.
Mr. BARTH. I think your last two categories are in the same. Any real property would go from the Federal Government to the Postal Service. In the future it would have to go with the President's ruling under 2002(d).
Mr. WRIGHT. With or without?
Mr. WRIGHT. Is it possible for the Postal Service to acquire buildings without reimbursement?
Mr. BARTH. The language of the section is clear. It could be read, I think, and the proper way to read it would be it is the Postal Service's decision to transfer to other Federal agencies
Mr. WRIGHT. So the decision comes under the Postal Service, right?
Mr. BARTH. On property the Postal Service has.
Mr. WRIGHT. It puts the Postal Service on a par with the President. The President would decide if we have to give any more property to the Postal Service, and whether or not we would be reimbursed, but the Postal Service would have to decide if it was going to give any property to the Government, and whether or not there would be any reimbursement.
Mr. BARTH. I think it is fair to say that.
Mr. WRIGHT. We have created an entity whose authority and power in some respects is on a par with the President. The authority of the GSA could not be said to be on a par with the President, could it?
Mr. BARTH. No, sir.
Mr. WRIGHT. So you are, to a large extent, at the mercy of the Postal Service in negotiating these transfers of property?
Mr. KREGER. It would appear by virtue of the law that we were just talking about, that might be.
Mr. CONSTANDY. And again, since no one knows the definition of the bond indenture, that may be a factor influencing the decision to be made by the Postal Service.
Did we do Williamsport, or were we about to do Williamsport?
Mr. TERRY. In the Bronx it would be indicated that 33 percent of the space to be occupied by GSA tenants would amount to in excess of 180,000 square feet. Presumably your tenants are now in private buildings, or are they in other GSA-owned buidings in the Bronx at the present time?
Mr. KREGER. I would think they would be partially in Federal buildings, and partially in leased space, scattered around the entire city.
Mr. TERRY. But your leases on the private sector of those buildings, presumably, would be tied into a completion date, since you had proceeded with just under $1 million worth of design, and had a proposed date for construction?
Mr. KREGER. I would not think that they were necessarily tied into the completion date of the building. Long-term funding would dictate that, but since this has been going on since 1963, the leases have probably been expiring, and readjusted on maybe a shorter-term basis. We have not entered into any 20-year leases, but 3- to 5-year leases.
Mr. TERRY. That is what I mean. That would increase the square-foot rental of those interim leases, that you are unable by virtue of this proposed project, to enter into long-term leases?
Mr. KREGER. On the face of it, it would seem to, but I do not believe it necessarily holds true. It probably would in a city like New York, with short-term leases.
Mr. TERRY. That is what we are talking about—the Bronx. So there would be an additional cost factor, and still is, by virtue of the Postal Service decision to withdraw from this project at this stage?
Mr. KREGER. There probably could well be an additional cost factor.
Post OFFICE DEPARTMENT,
BUREAU OF FACILITIES,
Washington, D.C., September 16, 1970. Mr, R. I. NIXON, Assistant Commissioner for Space Management, General Services Administration, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. NIXON : Since receiving your letter of September 1, 1970, about the proposed post office, courthouse and Federal office building for Williamsport, Pennsylvania, I have caused a careful review to be made of postal requirements at Williamsport.
This review indicates that a site of about eight acres is necessary for this facility. It is my understanding that your Agency is currently considering a site of only four acres. In addition we believe that the central business area is not appropriate for the type of postal operation we expect to have. We will be operating 86 vehicles in the new facility and we plan to maintain and service an additional 75 vehicles from perimeter offices. I think you will agree that the central business location is just not the place for this kind of operation. We would much prefer to be in an outlying area where a site of adequate size can be obtained without difficulty.
Because postal requirements are so divergent from the requirements you have for a Federal office building and courthouse, the Department is seriously considering withdrawing from this project and proceeding with a new building to be used solely for postal purposes.
I am familiar of course with the kind of problems this may pose for you and accordingly I suggest we discuss this matter at your earliest convenience. Sincerely yours,
(Signed) Henry Lehne,
HENRY LEHNE, Assistant Postmaster General.
WILLIAMSPORT, PENNSYLVANIA-Post OFFICE, COURTHOUSE, AND FEDERAL OFFICE
$400,000 Design Construction
Site: Size-190,000 sq. ft. (estimated).
Building area : Gross 194,100 sq. ft. Net 179,700 sq. ft. 44% of space for postal use.
Status of design : Design not started.
Remarks: Reduced project and revised prospectus contemplated ; scope and cost now being developed.
Mr. KREGER. At Williamsport we planned a building of 194,100 gross square feet, 44 percent of which was to be used for postal use. The design has not yet been started. The reduced project is contemplated, and the prospectus is being developed at the present time.
Mr. CONSTANDY. And the Post Office withdrew in 1970, is that right?
THE POSTMASTER GENERAL,
Washington, D.C., May 15, 1970. Hon. ROBERT L. KUNZIG, Administrator of General Services, Washington, D.O.
DEAR MR. KUNZIG: Reference is made to Mr. Chapman's letter of May 4, 1970, relating to the Post Office Department's plans for participating in the proposed joint GSA-POD projects in Augusta, Georgia, Manchester, New Hampshire and Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands.
The arrangements with respect to our participation in these projects as set forth in your letter is substantially in accordance with the understanding reached between Mr. Lehne and Mr. Sampson in their meeting held on April 22, 1970. This understanding may be summarized as follows:
Augusta.-In view of the fact that GSA will include construction funds in your 1972 fiscal year budget request, POD will continue to rely on this new building to meet our postal requirements in Augusta.
Manchester.—Since this project has a low priority on your construction schedule, and no site has been acquired, POD is withdrawing from participation and will plan to meet our postal requirements independently, either by the construction of a Postal Public Building or a leased facility.
Charlotte Amalie.-Inasmuch as this project also has a low priority on your construction schedule, and our space requirements have increased considerably since the approval of the prospectus, your site is inadequate to accommodate the total space needs. We therefore plan to proceed with the construction of a new leased postal facility, but will retain a station either in the existing or in the new Federal building to be constructed by GSA. We shall furnish you our space requirements for this station at an early date. Sincerely yours,
WINTON M. BLOUNT.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE, ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS-POST OFFICE, COURTHOUSE, AND
FEDERAL OFFICE BUILDING
Prospectus approved : Senate September 20, 1966; House October 6, 1966.
Total estimated project cost : $6,376,000. Funds appropriated :
Fiscal year 1968 Site
255, 000 Construction
Site: Size and location—77,537 sq. ft. ; a portion of barracks yard renewal project (parcel G).
Status of acquisition : Completed September 5, 1968.