PRESS RELEASE: The Solution to Arlington’s Office Vacancy Rate

May 22, 2023.

I’m Audrey Clement, the Independent candidate for Arlington County Board on November 7, 2023, and I want to reduce the county’s 23 percent office vacancy rate. While the move to remote work has impacted other cities throughout the region, Arlington has been particularly hard hit, due to the high concentration of office buildings along the R-B and Route 1 corridors.

Yet unlike other jurisdictions, Arlington has a solution to its soaring office vacancy rate called Executive Order 12072. Jimmy Carter issued EO 12072 in 1978 to revitalize and strengthen the Nation’s central cities. Section 1-103 requires that: “[e]xcept where such selection is otherwise prohibited, the process for meeting Federal space needs in urban areas shall give first consideration to a centralized community business area and adjacent areas of similar character, including other specific areas which may be recommended by local officials.” This means that whenever a locally based federal agency’s lease expires, the agency must give priority to an available space located in D.C. or Arlington, rather than in a suburb.

Enforcement of EO 12072 locally would reduce office vacancy rates. Yet most federal agencies have ignored it. For example, GSA has announced plans to relocate FBI headquarters to a suburban location in Greenbelt, MD Landover, MD or Springfield, VAMaryland elected officials are lobbying hard to relocate the FBI to one of the two Maryland sites, as is the NAACP, even though neither location meets the requirements of EO 12072.

Relocation of the FBI to either Arlington or Anacostia would comply with EO 12072, because their business districts are located in principal cities. Yet Arlington County has never invoked EO 12072 to get federal agencies to relocate or remain here. It never challenged the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) Commission’s recommendations, which emptied one third of Crystal City’s offices of DoD contractors over a decade ago. It didn’t challenge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to relocate to Fairfax County in 2014 or the relocation of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Science Foundation to Alexandria in 2005 and 2017 respectively.

If elected, I will insist that County Board enforce the requirements of EO 12072 whenever a federal agency in the DC area decides to relocate or when its lease expires.

I also pledge to:

  • Seek immediate tax relief for residents and businesses.
  • Emphasize basic services like: streets, schools, libraries and public safety.
  • Stop “Missing Middle” up-zoning, which will not produce affordable housing but will have major negative environmental impacts.

If you share my agenda, then:

  • Spread the word about my candidacy.
  • Donate to my campaign.
  • Help make the “Arlington Way” more than an empty phrase.