GPO May Seek New Headquarters

Posted February 9, 2004 at 6:29pm

There are no “for sale” signs up yet, but the Government Printing Office is considering moving out of the North Capitol Street facility it has occupied since 1860.

GPO cited costs for maintaining its current 1.5 million-square-foot headquarters — estimated at between $275 million and $530 million over the next five to 10 years — among the primary reasons for searching for a new facility.

Additionally, a fact sheet on the proposal notes that the four-building facility is no longer necessary for a staff of only 2,300 employees, down from a one-time high of 8,500 staff members.

“This building is not meeting our current needs, and it’s not going to meet our future needs,” said GPO spokeswoman Veronica Meter. Under Title 44 of the U.S. Code, GPO is responsible for the printing and information dissemination needs of Congress, as well as executive branch departments and agencies.

While GPO officials have not selected a new location — Meter said the agency will stay within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area — the agency will put a formal request for information on the federal government’s procurement Web site,, today.

Meter noted the project is in the “very, very early stages.” A fact sheet provided by GPO states a plan for the new facility would be approved by summer 2005, and the new headquarters would be ready for use by Dec. 31, 2007.

The search for a new facility is part of the reorganization plan initiated by Public Printer Bruce James shortly after he took over GPO’s helm in December 2002. Within the past year, the agency has closed nearly all of its bookstores, keeping open the North Capitol Street headquarters and a warehouse for dealers in Laurel, Md.

If GPO were to move, its current headquarters — four buildings constructed between 1903 and 1940 — could be renovated for commercial use.

“Using conventional metrics, the 1.5 million square feet available at the GPO sites could be redeveloped into office and retail space that could potentially employ thousands of new workers,” a GPO fact sheet states.