[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 158 (Wednesday, August 15, 2018)]
[Pages 40499-40501]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-17555]



Office of the Secretary

Notice of Request for Expression of Interest for Potential Sites 
for Headquarters Office Locations

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is exploring 
potential sites for a proposed new headquarters location for the 
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Economic 
Research Service (ERS). The need for a proposed NIFA facility would be 
approximately 90,000 square feet to house approximately 360 employees. 
The need for a proposed ERS facility would be up to 70,000 square feet 
to house up to 260 employees. Appropriations will dictate the ultimate 
size of the selection. USDA is requesting Expressions of Interest from 
State and Local governments, industry, academia, interested parties and 
organizations for potential locations that would accommodate the 
construction and/or lease and operation of a NIFA and/or ERS 
headquarters facility. USDA is interested in exploring options to house 
the headquarters of NIFA and ERS jointly or in separate locations.

DATES: Interested parties wishing to make an Expression of Interest 
should do so in writing by September 14, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit comments regarding 
this notice. All submissions must refer to ``Expression of Interest'' 
to ensure proper delivery.
     Electronic Submission of Expression of Interest. 
Interested persons may submit information electronically to the 
following email address [email protected].
     Submission of Comments by Mail, Hand delivery, or Courier. 
Paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to Donald K. 
Bice, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for 
Administration, USDA, Jamie L. Whitten Building, Room 240-W, 1400 
Independence Ave. SW, Washington, DC 20250.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donald K. Bice, Telephone Number: 
(202) 720-3291.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NIFA's mission is to invest in and advance

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agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal 
challenges. In collaboration with the Land-Grant Universities and other 
partners, NIFA supports the future of agriculture and the nation's 
well-being through its forward-thinking investments in critical 
science, education, and engagement efforts.
    The mission of ERS is to inform and enhance public and private 
decision making on a broad range of economic and policy issues related 
to agriculture, food, natural resources, and rural America. The 
Agency's mission is to anticipate issues that are on the horizon, and 
to conduct sound, peer-reviewed economic research. ERS is also a 
primary source of statistical indicators that, among other things, 
gauge the health of the farm sector (including farm income estimates 
and projections), assess the current and expected performance of the 
agricultural sector (including trade), and provide measures of food 
security here and abroad. Most of the Agency's research is conducted by 
a highly trained staff of economists and social scientists through an 
intramural program of research, market outlook, and analysis.
    The current headquarters facility for NIFA is in General Services 
Administration leased space in Washington DC That lease is expiring and 
the USDA and NIFA are interested in potential new sites for a 
headquarters facility. The current headquarters facility for ERS is in 
General Services Administration leased space in Washington DC This 
inquiry is intended to continue the implementation of Secretary 
Perdue's goal of ensuring USDA programs are delivered efficiently, 
effectively, and with integrity and a focus on customer service. With 
the expiration of the current lease for the NIFA headquarters facility 
and the ability of ERS to vacate its existing lease there is an 
opportunity for the agencies to be closer to its customers and 
facilitate economic development in Rural America.
    Request for Expression of Interest: USDA requests Expressions of 
Interest from State and Local governments, industry, academia, 
interested parties and organizations to identify potential sites or 
locations for the NIFA and ERS headquarters facility. A consortium 
could be an appropriate respondent. All viable options will be 
evaluated for the location of the facility (i.e., Federal government 
property, Federal research property, land deeded to the government, 
long-term lease, commercial site, etc.). USDA is interested in 
exploring options to house the headquarters of NIFA and ERS jointly or 
in separate locations.
    This request for expression of interest, published in today's 
Federal Register, is the first step in the process to consider site 
options. USDA will evaluate each EOI submission using the four criteria 
in no particular order (transportation logistics, workforce, community/
quality of life, and capital and operating costs) to determine if it 
should be further evaluated as part of the location selection process.
    Logistics. Personnel travel and logistics needs are critically 
important. This includes being located within a reasonable distance of 
a commercial primary airport and the transportation infrastructure to 
have commuting options for employees.
    Workforce. Locating NIFA and ERS headquarters in a community 
includes a significant opportunity to improve economic conditions and 
create employment opportunities. It is important that the potential 
site be in close proximity to a critical mass of intellectual capacity 
and potential employees to continue the high value and productive work 
of NIFA and ERS.
    Community/Quality of Life. One of the most important resources of 
any USDA organization is its employees. Though the Washington DC area 
has many positive attributes, it routinely ranks as having some of the 
longest commute times and one of the highest costs of living in the 
Nation. USDA wants to locate the NIFA and ERS headquarters in a 
community where our employees will enjoy living, recreational 
opportunities, educational opportunities, and an overall high quality 
of life.
    Capital and Operating Costs. The need to invest upfront capital 
costs and ongoing operational costs will be a factor in the site 
selection process. Lower costs and the potential of incentives to 
offset costs will be considered.
    Information Technology infrastructure. While there is the need 
consider upfront investments in capital costs and ongoing operational 
costs in the site selection process; it is also important for the ERS 
location to offer enhanced IT security to meet the full requirements of 
handling and properly protecting confidential information at the new 
location. ERS, being a Federal statistical agency, will be required to 
maintain functional and physical separation of IT resources in order to 
meet the data protection requirements described in the Confidential 
Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (44 U.S.C. 101) 
and in OMB's related implementation guidance. Moreover, ERS is an 
integral agency for the Office of the Chief Economist Office's World 
Agricultural Outlook Board activities. Therefore, the new location will 
be required to offer secure and confidential connectivity to the USDA's 
South Building to facilitate monthly teleconferences with the 
Interagency Commodity Estimates Committee meetings (https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/prepared.htm). The ability of the new 
location to offer those capabilities will be viewed as a prerequisite 
condition for a successful bid.
    Expression of Interest Format: The length of the Expression of 
Interest should be no more than 5 pages using 12-point font. While the 
responder may determine how best to use the 5 pages, we recommend: 
SECTION 1--Summary; and SECTION 2 through SECTION 5 a description of 
location with specific reference to the 4 items requested by USDA 
    1. A description of your consortium/organization, and its 
capabilities to support the location of the NIFA and ERS headquarters 
at its recommended site (SECTION 2).
    2. A description of how the potential site addressed the four site 
criteria categories (transportation logistics, workforce, community/
quality of life, and capital and operating costs) described above 
    3. A map showing the location of the potential site, nearby (within 
10 miles) political boundaries, demographics and characteristics of 
surrounding communities (within 10 miles) (SECTION 4).
    4. A site description including ownership, total site acreage and 
acreage available for development; existing physical infrastructure 
including number of structures, their size, vintage and current use; 
current activities; on-site tenants (if applicable); and estimated 
costs as tenant (SECTION 5).
    Proprietary Information: If the Expression of Interest contains 
information that the submitter believes is privileged or confidential, 
the appropriate portions of the submission should be marked 
``Proprietary Information'' and will not be publicly released except as 
required by law. This restriction does not limit the Government's or 
its contractors' or agents' right to use data obtained without 
restriction from any source, including the respondent.
    USDA is under no obligation to pay for any costs associated with 
the preparation or submission of Expressions of Interest in response to 
this notice. USDA reserves the right to

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respond or not respond to any portion, all, or none of the Expressions 
of Interest submitted in response to this Notice. Responders whose 
submissions are deemed worthy of further consideration given the 
criteria expressed herein may be asked to provide additional 
information. USDA's further consideration of certain Responders' 
Expressions of Interest does not obligate USDA to provide funds to such 
Responders or to enter into contractual relationships with such 

    Dated: August 9, 2018.
Donald K. Bice,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration.
[FR Doc. 2018-17555 Filed 8-14-18; 8:45 am]