Leaving buildings vacant, especially in a growing city like Raleigh, is a costly waste. In a private business it would get a property manager fired but not in state government.
Back is 2015, Governor McCrory commissioned a study on state office use by a reputable national firm, CBRE, which found state government uses an average space of 319 feet per employee (FTE). The report continued, “Current commercial and governmental standards average between 175-200 square feet per FTE.” In other words, the state uses about 40% more space per employee than the norm. And the problem may be even worse.
The 319 sq ft per employee number is based on self-reporting by the state agencies. However, since there is no accurate inventory of state space, you have to ask: Did State agencies underreport their space?
According to the CBRE study, the state agencies reported a total of almost 123 million square feet. Reducing that space to the commonly used standard, a 40% reduction, means government is wasting 49 million square feet of unnecessary office space.
What does that mean in dollars? At $100 a square foot it means the state owns, or makes lease payments on, excess space valued at five billion dollars. That’s $5 billion that could be used to pay for schools, law enforcement or infrastructure.