Fannie Mae is planning on building a new headquarters in Washington D.C., and according to a new inspector general’s report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the building is too lavish, reports MarketWatch staffer Daniel Goldstein.
The cost to build the new 679,0000 square-foot headquarters has risen since January of 2015 – from $115 million to $151 million. All told, the 15-year cost of relocation of Fannie Mae’s headquarters, the construction of the new building and the lease now tops $770 million, the OIG said. The OIG took particular aim at the three glass-enclosed bridges at the property, of which Fannie Mae will bear about 70% of the costs to construct, totaling about $15 million, as well as the spiral staircases and rooftop decks.
Pete Bakel, a spokesman for Fannie Mae, said that despite the rising construction costs identified in the OIG report, the move to Midtown Center will still save taxpayers about $330 million over the next 15 years as the agency consolidates its offices in the Washington area into the more energy-efficient space.
Bakel said the higher construction costs were in part due to the agency selecting more expensive energy-efficient elements such as LEDs instead of florescent lights as well as mechanical shades up front that it said would help lower costs during the 15-year lease. “It’s completely consistent with an agency that’s in conservatorship,” he said.
The FHFA controls operations through conservatorship of both mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,