WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Two top priorities of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, unanimously passed the House today as part of the Public Buildings Reform and Savings Act of 2016. A Norton provision takes a major step forward toward the development of Independence Avenue SW and the Southwest Mall, prime land that has never had its highest use.
Norton’s provision directs the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to sell the Cotton Annex and sell or exchange the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Forrestal Complex, at 1000 Independence Avenue SW, and to use the funds to construct a new, smaller, and more efficient DOE headquarters. The bill also contains Norton’s provision requiring buildings owned or leased by GSA to provide private, hygienic lactation spaces for visitors and guests to pump or breastfeed.
“Because of congressional and executive mandates for smaller footprints for federal agencies, the Department of Energy today needs a significantly smaller space than when it was originally built,” Norton said. “Building a modern, energy-efficient headquarters will not only save the federal government millions of taxpayer dollars annually, the improved space utilization will open the possibility for appropriate mixed-use development of the Southwest Mall, with savings to the federal government and increased revenue for the District of Columbia.
“Second, my ‘Motherhood Amendment,’ as I have called it, catches up with today’s best practices for mothers and infants. GSA already requires lactation spaces for federal employees, but I discovered last year that the Smithsonian Institution lacked dedicated lactation spaces for employees at more than 20 of its facilities. The Smithsonian took immediate corrective action for its employees, but the involvement of the Smithsonian, a major tourist attraction, reminded me that nursing mothers are among the more than 20 million people who visit the nation’s capital and its many federal buildings annually, and they also need access to lactation spaces. My bill does not require new federal funds or that a new or exclusive space be permanently set aside only for lactation, only that space must be available as needed.”