Report | Future Cities
Mid Atlantic Research Reflections 2023 Federal Government
December 5, 2023 10 Minute Read
The federal government is the largest employer and largest office user in the Washington, D.C. metro region, and remains the largest driver of leasing activity in 2023. Despite fewer leases signed relative to previous years, federal government tenants leased 2.9 million sq. ft. across the region, accounting for 26% of all activity year-to-date. While policies vary, many federal agencies continue to offer work-from-home practices elevated from pre-pandemic levels. A report produced in July 2023 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that office utilization levels for 17 of 24 federal agency headquarters were below 25%, per GAO metrics of 170 sq. ft. per person for the space. This underutilization, though not necessarily consistent across all agencies, makes rightsizing a prudent strategy with regards to leasing.
As rightsizing trends amongst federal agencies continue, the GSA has placed a priority on utilizing space the government already owns or leases. As a result, federal government tenants in the D.C. region have largely signed renewals in 2023, with just four relocations among 18 government leases.
The GSA signed the largest relocation lease year-to-date on behalf of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The 175,000 sq. ft. lease at 15010 Conference Center Drive in Chantilly, VA spans the top five floors of a six-story building that was previously fully occupied by the building’s owner, UNICOM. Separately, the DEA renewed its 76,000 sq. ft. footprint at 22400 Shaw Road in Sterling, VA.