Feds focus on consolidating portfolio: deputy minister

The message hasn’t changed much as far as the federal government’s real estate portfolio is concerned, an assistant deputy minister told the sold out Ottawa Real Estate Forum Thursday.

Pierre-Marc Mongeau, assistant deputy minister, Real Property Branch, Public Works & Government Services Canada, was back at the conference for a second year, saying the government’s priorities continue to focus on consolidating space and divesting itself of properties it no longer needs.

On the topic on consolidation, Mr. Mongeau told the standing-room-only crowd of 600 at the Ottawa Conference and Event Centre the government wants to reduce office space by two square metres per employee.

Mr. Mongeau said by 2021, the government is hoping for a leaner, higher performing portfolio that is well-located, enabling improved federal program delivery. It wants to reduce accommodation costs, achieving best value for its money. Thirdly, it wants to reach LEED Gold or Silver status in 40 per cent of its owned and leased-purchase portfolio, through asset renovation and replacement.

He said a more affordable, greener public service ultimately saves money for Canadians.

Mr. Mongeau said the government is looking for a balanced presence throughout the National Capital area, not just downtown, but east, west and south.

He touched on the recently-revealed plans for Tunney’s Pasture, calling it a “complete community integrated into a community.”

Mr. Mongeau said work on the former Nortel’s Carling Campus is on time and on budget as of last month, saying moving DND there will save $750 million over a 25-year period.

Mr. Mongeau said public private partnerships (PPP) are going to be key moving forward.

“We will continue to do a lot of business with you,” he told the crowd. He said the government wants to “leverage private sector ingenuity” and wanted to take advantage of private sector solutions.

“Especially your money,” he said.

He said PPPs can help create a busy and exciting future, to build a “lasting and vibrant community in our nation’s capital.”