After years of criticism for what Republican lawmakers called “sitting on our assets,” the General Services Administration on Friday finally transferred the title of the Cotton Annex, a long-vacant Agriculture Department structure on Washington’s Federal Triangle.
"We are pleased that this underutilized federal property generated robust interest in the marketplace,” said Mary Gibert, Public Buildings Service regional commissioner for GSA’s National Capital Region. “GSA’s disposal of the Cotton Annex will positively impact the neighborhood and greater Washington community by making this valuable government asset available for other uses, as well as being a sound financial transaction for the American taxpayer.”
Following an auction that began in December for the historically protected property, GSA announced the winning bid of $30.2 million in February. Though GSA didn’t give the buyer’s name, Washington Business Journal in March identified the firm as Douglas Development Corp, a specialist in historic preservation.
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Built in 1937 as a laboratory and offices for the Bureau of Agriculture and Economics, the 118,000-square foot building at 300 12th St. S.W. was acquired by GSA in 1982 and was vacated by Agriculture in 2007. GSA was unable to find a new federal tenant.
A Republican-led House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee held a March 22, 2012, field hearing at the Annex as part of a campaign to sell unneeded properties.
GSA’s Friday statement called the sale “the agency’s latest action to reduce the federal government’s real estate footprint by making more efficient use of properties through innovative and cost-saving disposal initiatives.”