Chet Holifield Federal Building
On November 29, 2023, the United States General Service Administration (GSA) issued an Invitation for Bids (IFB) for the purchase of the Chet Holifield Federal Building (CHFB) property. Sales highlights include:
- The auction will start on June 5, 2024 at 11:00 am CT.
- The minimum bid amount is $70M with a $200K registration deposit (refundable if not awarded the property).
- The sale does not require a preservation easement as a part of the sale transaction.
- A virtual webinar on historic mitigation will be hosted by the GSA in February of 2024.
- The real estate broker that secures the registered bidder with a high bid accepted will receive a “finder’s fee” consisting of 0.50 - 0.80% of the sale price.
- No registration deposit is required for inspection tours. The CHFB property will be available for inspection by appointment for scheduled tours in Spring 2024.
The CHFB property, located at 24000 Avila Road, is on approximately 91 acres in the heart of Laguna Niguel. Site improvements include a 1 million square foot, seven-story government office building; 4,777 parking spaces; services support and security buildings; recreational and landscaped areas; and non-contiguous utility parcels including a water reservoir building, cooling tower, thermal energy storage tank, and 3,840-cell photovoltaic system. Approximately 3,000 government employees currently work at the site, to be relocated prior to December 31, 2024. A link to the GSA's project website can be found here.
Sale of the CHFB property was initiated as a result of a determination by the Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB), an independent agency created by the Federal Assets Sale & Transfer Act of 2016, which identified the under-utilized property as an opportunity for the federal government to reduce its real estate inventory and thereby reduce costs significantly.
History of Sale/Trade/Disposal Process
Between 1968-1970, the Aerospace and Systems Group of North American Rockwell Corporation (NAR) developed the property and constructed the building. NAR never occupied the building and attempted to sell it but was unsuccessful due to its limited economic viability.
In 1974, NAR traded the property to the federal government. However, it was initially designed as a light manufacturing facility and was never designed to function as an office building since much of the lower three floors have limited or no windows.
In 1984, when various federal agencies occupied only 29% of the building, the GSA attempted to sell the property but was unsuccessful.
In 2016, the GSA decided to sell the property again due to extensive maintenance costs, and the low use of the building due to its design.
Between 2018-2019, the GSA commissioned a Feasibility Study and Seismic Analysis to evaluate the existing building and assess its condition relative to the life/safety code and GSA standards, as well as provide an analysis of alternatives for the long-term housing of the CHFB occupants. Three of the six alternatives studied included a “CHFB repair” component. In those three alternatives, the “2019” cost to repair the CHFB ranged from $526,140,000 to $916,518,000. (Portions of the public Feasibility and Seismic Analysis have been redacted by GSA.)
Between 2020-2021, the GSA prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to dispose of the property. The scope of the EIS was for the relocation of existing agencies, not redevelopment. The EIS included a cultural resources assessment which determined several structures and surrounding site improvements collectively to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
In 2021, the GSA hired Griffin Enright Architects (GEA) to facilitate five virtual workshops to solicit, consider and document community input on the property and potential options for its future use. Six development proposals shared with the public by GEA ranged from improving the existing building, repurposing the existing building, reducing the existing building, and demolishing the building. Anticipated economic and land use impacts associated with the various proposals were not shared during the workshops.
In March of 2022, the GSA concluded the Section 106 consultation process related to the evaluation of potential impacts of the property sale on historic resources. In conclusion, the GSA determined to offer the CHFB property for sale with enforceable restrictions/conditions to ensure the long-term preservation of noted improvements deemed to be of historical significance.
On December 1, 2022, the GSA issued an IFB for the purchase of the CHFB. The online auction started on March 7, 2023, and closed on April 12, 2023. No bids were received.
On May 16, 2023, in an effort to improve the marketability of the CHFB property and based on feedback received during the auction from the development community, the GSA reopened the Section 106 consultation process. In concluding the consultation process, the GSA determined to remove previously proposed preservation requirements from any future efforts to sell the property.
Local Land Use Authority
It is the express desire of the City of Laguna Niguel to work toward timely identification and development of a comprehensive plan for the property's future, mutually beneficial to the prospective property owner(s) and the Laguna Niguel community. Independent of the GSA sales process, consideration of potential impacts to culturally significant resources will also be a focus of the City in its review of any land use entitlements for the property. To contact City Staff, please email Erica Roess, Senior Planner, at email@example.com, or call her at (949) 362-4067.