Get to know: GSA Region 5 – Great Lakes

This story is part of Federal News Network’s ongoing series: GSA @ 70: Mission evolved

The General Services Administration’s Great Lakes Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. It’s real estate portfolio includes 985 properties totaling 35 million square feet of space, including 61 historic buildings and nine land ports of entry. Last year the region recycled 6,100 tons of waste in 2018, diverting 72% of its waste from landfills, according to GSA.

What you may not know about the region

Region 5’s headquarters, the Federal Center, has been featured in several films including “Batman v Superman,” “Office Christmas Party” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Four Chicago architectural firms joined together for the commission to build it, with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe serving as the chief designer for the project, GSA said.

Brad Hansher, GSA Region 5, General Services Administration
Brad Hansher, GSA Region 5 administrator

Regional Administrator Brad Hansher: How has the region changed over its history?

“A few key changes have shaped GSA since 1949. GSA’s areas of responsibilities have grown, and we’re now positioned not only as a leader in government real estate, and acquisition, but also in technology and support for small businesses. The drastic changes in technology have undoubtedly made both our business practices and building operations more efficient, resulting in significant cost savings for our federal agency partners and taxpayers.

“Additionally, GSA has placed a greater emphasis on ensuring that small businesses are positioned to compete and obtain government contracts, which also results in more cost savings.”

Then and now

Located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, the Great Lakes Region’s previous headquarters was a Beaux Arts-style U.S. Post Office and Courthouse designed by Henry Ives Cobb, which replaced an 1879 government building in the same location. In 1960, Congress authorized GSA to construct a new office complex, according to the agency.

The Federal Center consolidated more than 30 agencies formerly scattered throughout the city.  Tenants occupied the new U.S. Courthouse, the first of the Federal Center’s three buildings to be completed, in 1964. The government began demolition of the old post office in 1965 to clear the site for the Loop Station Post Office and the new Federal Building, which were completed in 1973 and 1974, respectively.

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