GAO Wants Tech to Shed Light on the Commercial Offices It Rents

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The agency is inviting interested small business vendors to submit a quote by early September.

The Government Accountability Office wants access to a real-estate database that details the property ownership information of all of the commercial spaces the agency rents, according to a request for quotations released this week. 

Officials ultimately aim to ensure they’re renting from trustworthy sources.

“Given the increased risk of being in commercial space with foreign ownership and the potentially complex ownership structures, GAO will need to monitor the ownership of the field offices that are in commercial space,” the agency officials explained in the RFQ. 

Government buildings are “increasingly” leased from private sector landlords, GAO said, and many of those non-federal structures house sensitive government information and operations. This can pose security risks for the agencies renting out those structures, particularly if the true owners of the property and buildings are not made apparent—or if those owners answer to foreign entities. 

“For example, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence leases space in Reston, VA, from a Korean-owned company,” the RFQ notes. “It is unclear what oversight exists of foreign ownership and what rights these owners have related to their federal tenants.” 

Though the General Services Administration is responsible for leasing space for most of the government, seven of GAO’s 11 field offices are leased in a commercial office space. The agency is moving into federal space where it’s available, but in the meantime, it aims to procure a database that provides detailed ownership data for all seven of its commercially rented offices. 

The agency wants the database to “be searchable by address nationwide” and offer detailed information into buildings’ owners. And if an office is moving from one commercial space to the other, the technology needs to be able to provide all of the relevant ownership information for new properties under consideration.

“In addition, the database needs to describe where the true owners are located, so that GAO can ascertain if the ownership is American or foreign-owned,” agency officials wrote. 

The contract’s performance period will run until Sept. 2024 and the agency anticipates multiple users will access the database regularly. 

Interested vendors should submit quotes to GAO by Sept. 6.