Region 2 Newsroom

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News in the Northeast and Caribbean Region

GSA Goes Hollywood

Spring is TV pilot filming season and, believe it or not, GSA often has a role in all the activity and excitement! No less than six television series have filmed so far this spring at GSA-owned facilities in lower Manhattan: “Billions” and “Time After Time” at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, “Blindspot,” “The Blacklist” and an untitled Paul Davies project at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building, and “Salamander” at the Ted Weiss Federal Building.

“Billions” filming on location at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House - photo courtesy of Stephen Ronaghan"Billions” filming on location at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House. (Photo courtesy of Stephen Ronaghan, congressional services representative, GSA Region 2)

In fact, buildings in the region’s portfolio have a long and busy history of serving as location shoots for television and film, from Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” 30 years ago to more recent fare like the 10-time Oscar nominated “American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and the upcoming “The Wizard of Lies” starring Robert DeNiro as Bernie Madoff. It is all part of Region 2’s pioneering work in GSA’s national Film and Event Outleasing Program.

“Film and television location scouts search the area for ‘film-friendly’ buildings all the time, and they find many of our buildings as ‘film-friendly’ as can be,” said Allison Arias, the Region 2 film outlease coordinator. “The Javits Federal Building, the Ted Weiss Federal Building and the Mollo Federal Building are all in high demand, and the U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green is the most sought after of all.”

“Scouts and production crews love Bowling Green both for its own great beauty and for the fact that it can stand in for other city locations they might not be able to get, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both Bowling Green and The Met are prime examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, so the substitution is pretty convincing,” said David Anthone, program manager of R2’s Film and Event Outleasing Program and Historic Preservation Officer.

“Not that these crews don’t go all out to get everything else right,” he continued. “For a series called ‘Time After Time,’ set dressing was so thorough that fake museum displays, plaques, brochures and TV monitors were installed to create an H.G. Wells museum space within the Custom House.”

That sort of attention to detail is mirrored on GSA’s end by ensuring that all film shoots are properly licensed and managed, including security, insurance, janitorial services and accounting.All is done so as not to interfere with the federal business within the buildings; most shoots take place after hours and on weekends.

“Production companies pay to paint or refinish surfaces to what they need and then pay to put them back,” Anthone said. “The team from ‘Ugly Betty’ had to pay about $15,000 to paint and repaint at Bowling Green some years back. Sometimes it also happens that the work was exactly what we wanted and we don’t have them undo it, such as the time we permanently kept the drapes from when Bowling Green was used as a set for ‘Inside Man,’ or the wall sconces from when Bowling Green was also used as a set for ‘Boardwalk Empire.’”

Besides further showcasing and documenting the architectural legacy of GSA buildings to the public, film and television outleasing also generates revenue. All overtime and reimbursable expenses for security, property management and janitorial services are recovered from the production companies, which also pay a licensing fee for the use of GSA-owned facilities. Last year in Region 2, such licensing fees amounted to $300,000, which were transferred into a special GSA historic preservation fund used for restorations within the region’s landmark buildings.  Recent awards from that fund include the decorative ceiling restoration at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, artwork conservation at the James T. Foley U.S. Courthouse in Albany, and work done at a U.S. land port of entry—all at no expense to taxpayers.

Finally, Region 2 has used its experience to conduct national training and further develop these programs in other regions, such as Region 4 in Atlanta and Region 5 in Chicago. For more information about the outleasing for film and TV program, “have your people call our people,” Allison Arias at allison.arias@gsa.gov or David Anthone at david.anthone@gsa.gov.

GSA Striking it Green for Taxpayers

Check presentation representing energy savingsFrom left, Kevin Hamilton of NuEnergen, Ron Arcilla, Robert Pajer, Brian Magden, and Frank Santella, all of GSA Region 2, pose for a photo with a ceremonial check to represent the amount of revenue generated from participating in the demand response program.

GSA’s energy conservation initiatives continue to make green what matters most: the wallets of U.S. taxpayers. The most recent proof of this came on April 26, 2017, at the new One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, where Acting Regional Administrator Frank Santella accepted a ceremonial check in the amount of $479,629.72 on behalf of the Northeast and Caribbean Region for its participation in demand response (DR) programs with northeast grid operators like New York Independent System Operator and Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection, as well as public utilities like Con Edison.The check was presented by NuEnergen, the region’s private industry partner in such programs, and brings Region 2’s net earnings through DR participation to $1,955,915 since 2011.

“A demand response program is basically an agreement to be on standby to lower energy usage when the power grid is stressed to where it’s at risk of failure,” said Brian Magden, Region 2 energy coordinator. “Organizations in demand response programs get paid for freeing up kilowatts so that demand response capacity is increased for everyone else in the communities and municipalities being served.” 

Region 2 currently has a total of 17 of its federally owned buildings enrolled in demand response programs across the metropolitan New York, Upstate New York, and Northern New Jersey areas.

“Earnings from these programs can be used to fund future green projects that eventually yield even more energy and cost savings,” said Robert Pajer, energy branch chief for Region 2. “Since the inception of this revenue stream, we’ve been able to fund dozens of energy and water projects totaling approximately $1.6 million.”

Also on hand April 26 were representatives from Trane®, who provided an update of the energy savings performance contract (ESPC) for a large-scale project to reduce energy and water consumption with cutting edge energy conservation measures (ECMs) in nine of the federally owned buildings GSA manages in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and White Plains. Trane® won the ESPC in April 2016 and, at $114 million, it is one of the largest ESPCs GSA has ever awarded.

Trane reps discuss energy savings through the demand response programKimberly Lam and Chris Jones of Trane® provide an update April 26 on an energy savings performance contract, which is at 55 percent completion toward implementing 98 energy conservation measures throughout nine GSA buildings in Region 2.

"An ESPC is a financial mechanism used to pay for current facility upgrades with future energy and operational savings,” said Kevin Bunker, Region 2’s ESPC program manager. “So we get to improve and modernize the systems in our facilities without having to tap into any capital funds to do it."

Under the contract, Trane® engineers and energy experts walked each of the nine buildings—8 million square feet, in all—and identified a total of 98 ECMs to include in the project. Many of these ECMs will also improve occupant comfort levels, besides modernizing each building’s energy efficiency.

Currently, the project is 55 percent complete and scheduled to be finished by June 2018, at which point energy consumption will be reduced by 30 percent and water consumption by 24 million gallons annually across the nine buildings. Trane® will remain onsite till 2036 to assist the region in maintaining ECMs and to guarantee long-term savings are achieved.

Whether paying for green infrastructure upgrades and projects with revenue generated from demand response programs, or by leveraging the future gains from such projects into energy savings performance contracts, Region 2’s resourceful financing unburdens taxpayers and gives new meaning to the old adage, “The best things in life are free.”

For more information about Region 2’s DR program participation, please contact Brian Magden at brian.magden@gsa.gov. For information about the region’s ESPC with Trane®, please contact Kevin Bunker at kevin.bunker@gsa.gov.

GSA’s façade repair requires closure of African Burial Ground outdoor monument

Manhattan, N.Y. -- In a recent Local Law 11 inspection of the exterior walls of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Ted Weiss Federal Building located at 290 Broadway, inspectors discovered physical defects in the façade.

The finding affects the site of the National Park Service’s African Burial Ground outdoor memorial, which is located on the east side of the building.

The reopening of the African Burial Ground outdoor memorial has been postponed to allow for installation of temporary overhead structures to protect visitors before and during the upcoming repair work.

“The National Park Service takes the safety of its visitors and of this sacred site very seriously,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent for African Burial Ground National Monument.

NPS and GSA have been working hand-in-hand to expedite the reopening of the outdoor memorial.

“We regret that the issue affects the access and experience of visitors to the African Burial Ground outdoor memorial. We’re making every effort to resolve the issue while ensuring the public’s safety,” said Frank Santella, GSA’s Region 2 acting regional administrator.

Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

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Last Reviewed 2017-05-15