How gov can shed 14,000 properties

Thursday - 4/7/2011, 7:21pm EDT

Herman Bulls is the CEO of Public Institutions at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle

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By Andrew Mitchell
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

The federal government is looking to sell 14,000 properties - everything from office buildings to flagpoles.

So it's now up to the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service to sell off that excess inventory.

But how do you make a sale like that happen?

In Depth host Francis Rose spoke with Herman Bulls, the CEO of the Public Institutions division at the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, who said the government should stick to the basics of real estate sales:

"Find out what is the market value, who are the logical users, and then put a marketing plan together to make sure you can get the appropriate organizations that will make bids on these properties and have the ability to close."

Bulls does not think that all of the properties on the block will be a hard sale. "Some of it will be very attractive to the extent that it's in urban areas and can be repurposed," he said.

Bulls foresees that pension funds would be one type of buyer, inasmuch as urban office properties can be good sources of rental income. "These are going to be opportunistic, entrepreneurial investors who, basically, see how the property could be reused and repurposed, and the risk will be high but so will the opportunities," he explained.

Selling off 14,000 properties is "not something that will happen overnight," Bulls said. But he added that the process could be hastened somewhat by bringing in the private sector.

"Not to say that the government is inefficient, however, the private sector, which does this every day, will definitely be able to come in and bring some great results," he said.

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