By Daniel J. Sernovitz
Staff Reporter-Washington Business Journal
The General Services Administration and the NRC signed a short-term lease with an affiliate of Lerner Enterprises Wednesday, just hours after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a resolution letting the NRC stay under a long-term lease while relinquishing a portion of the space it occupies in another building.
GSA spokesman Dan Cruz said the GSA and NRC signed the five-year lease as an interim step while it negotiates the terms of a longer deal. Its lease at Two White Flint was slated to expire Dec. 14. Under the terms of the renewal, the government will be paying $26.40 per square foot for the space, or just under $9.2 million a year. The NRC leases 347,922 square feet in the building.
House lawmakers criticized the NRC earlier this year for asking to renew its lease at Two White Flint since the agency needed only a fraction of the space it agreed to lease in Three White Flint.
The NRC agreed back in 2009 to a 15-year lease for space in Three White Flint, a 362,000-square-foot building constructed in late 2012. At the time, the agency expected to hire hundreds of workers to process new nuclear plant applications. That wave of applications did not materialize, and the NRC did not need the space.
The House voted on Wednesday to let the NRC renew its lease at Two White Flint on the condition it let the Food and Drug Administration backfill about 60 percent of Three White Flint. The FDA plans to relocate workers from four off-site locations as its own leases expire.
The House committee projects the resolution will save the government about $145.8 million in rental costs over the next 15 years.