Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What about BRAC?

An anonymous commenter on my last post posed a simple yet poignant question “So, what’s going on with BRAC? Weren’t we supposed to get huge numbers of jobs that need office space?”

The simple answer is yes…but not quite yet.

BRAC, the Base Realignment and Closure initiative of the US Department of Defense is intended to make the military more efficient by closing some military installations and consolidating activities into others. One of the larger beneficiaries of this initiative is Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County which is just across the Howard County line. Beginning in 2010, 5,400 government jobs will be added to Fort Meade when the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), The Adjudication and Office of Hearings and Appeals Offices, and Defense Media Activity relocate to the base.

According to this article by Raymond McCaffrey in the Washington Post, “The transfer of DISA positions to Fort Meade will be part of the anticipated growth of 22,000 defense and private-sector jobs related to BRAC, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which considered job gains at the National Security Agency, other defense-related organizations and businesses leasing property at Fort Meade.”

The rule of thumb for commercial office space is approximately 170 square feet per employee. That equates to approximately 4 million square feet of new office space demand over the next three years.

While this is all good news for the long term, it doesn’t offer much immediate relief for those owners with empty buildings today.