Empty Government-Owned Buildings Costing Taxpayers

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A 'For Rent' sign on a vacant building. (Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A ‘For Rent’ sign on a vacant building. (Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – In the middle of all the new development around Nationals Park sits a huge warehouse on L Street that’s gone unused since 2009. The federal government owns the property, but it hasn’t had any luck finding an agency to utilize the space.

A House subcommittee held a hearing on-site Thursday to figure out what to do about the space.

The federal government is spending more than $1.5 billion per year to maintain unused properties, including the L Street warehouse that costs about $70,000 annually. It could be worth up to $19 million on the open market.

Nate Alberg is part of a group of neighbors and potential entrepreneurs that would like to see the property sold and utilized.

“The vision right now is to somehow acquire the building so that it can become a public market that also incorporates workforce development training,” he told WNEW’s Matt DelSignore.

Wes Neal also likes the idea of the building being sold and turned into something that fits the neighborhood’s new feel.

“It’s right in the middle of everything that’s going on. The ballpark, and dining and entertainment and stuff,” he said.

Congressman John Mica acknowledged that federal properties going unused in the middle of sequestration looks bad.

“When we’re closing down essential services and we have vacant public buildings, something’s wrong,” he said.

WNEW’s Matt DelSignore contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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