Government Peddles Property as Congress Fights Over Debt - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Government Peddles Property as Congress Fights Over Debt



    The US Government is selling property to help raise money for the federal treasury.

    Two big World War II-era parcels in North Texas are among the properties being sold.

    Deals are done or in the works for the Vought Aircraft Plant at the old Dallas Naval Air Station and part of the Fort Worth Service Center.

    The Fort Worth Service Center on Felix Street is featured on a White House website promoting the sale of excess federal property.

    Two Federal Properties in DFW Up For Sale

    [DFW] Two Federal Properties in DFW Up For Sale
    The US Government is selling property in DFW to help raise money for the federal treasury.
    (Published Friday, July 29, 2011)

    Melvin Freeman with the Fort Worth office of the US General Services Adminstration is overseeing both deals.

    “We typically make the property available to determine if there is any additional federal need, because the federal government would not want to divest itself of property that another federal agency would have a need for,” he said.

    The Fort Worth Service center first opened in the early 1940’s as supply depot for the military. It also housed prisoners of war.

    It continues to be used to stage Federal Emergency Management Agency equipment among other things.

    But 75 acres with more than a million square feet of building space were declared surplus and the sale closed on July 5.

    “We spent about $1.1 million to move the agencies, consolidate space, separate utilities and then we placed that property on the market and we sold it for $6.4 million,” Freeman said.

    The high bidder was the city of Fort Worth.

    It plans to relocate the city police and fire academies and Fort Worth Police Headquarters to the site, where a Fort Worth vehicle repair garage is already located.

    “It’s a great way to reuse some of Fort Worth’s history in a way that benefits the citizens of Fort Worth, benefits the surrounding neighborhoods, and benefits the men and women who are in our Fire and Police,” Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns said.

    Other bidders in an auction for the Fort Worth federal property forced the city to pay more than it had hoped, but Burns said it is still the best option for the new Police Academy, which the city wants to move from its current location near the Fort Worth Trinity River redevelopment area.

    “Our purchase of a portion of it is a win-win for both the city government and the federal government because it allows us to adaptively reuse existing buildings for much less than what it would cost us to build new ones and it lets the federal government get out from under property that they don’t need any more,” Burns said.

    The Dallas Vought Aircraft factory has been building aviation equipment since the 1940’s but the land was always owned by the U.S. Navy.

    “The Department of Defense is starting to divest itself of what they term ‘government owned contractor run plants’ and that’s one of the last ones that was in the Navy inventory. We partnered with the Navy to offer that property to the market place for sale,” Freeman said.

    The factory was called “Mountain Creek Industrial Center” in a website set up to promote the sale.

    The government marketed the property with the existing tenant so that a new buyer would continue to operate the plant as a landlord for Vought, which is now owned by Triumph Aerostructures.

    The sale to a private owner would allow the City of Dallas to collect property taxes on the site, which has always been tax-free government land.

    “It’s under contract, there are still some terms of the contract that have to be fulfilled, but it will be returned to the tax-roll,” Freeman said.

    Included in the sale is a vacant water front tract of land adjacent to the factory along a leg of Mountain Creek Lake.

    “I’m not sure what the buyer plans to do with that vacant land, but it is a good piece of property,” Freeman said.

    The two deals will provide millions of dollars for the federal treasury, but just a small drop in the bucket toward that federal debt battle.

    The General Services Administration also posts other surplus property for sale online.