SLA HQ Building Update

HQbuilding

It has been a little more than a year since then-SLA President Deb Hunt announced that the Board of Directors had voted to place our headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, on the market for sale.  I want to take this opportunity to update you on the status of the building sale process and our larger efforts to meet current and future challenges to our association’s mission and vitality.

As outlined earlier this year in a memo from the board to SLA members, the sale of the building is being driven by three factors:

  1. The need to improve our association’s current financial position;
  2. The recognition that the current headquarters space greatly exceeds our staffing and storage requirements and is costly to operate and maintain; and
  3. A desire to free up funds to invest in new products and services that will strengthen current members’ skills, attract new members, and create additional revenue streams.

The building was listed for sale in January 2014. In the months since, several groups have toured the site (some more than once) and expressed interest, but to date no offers have been put forward. The market for commercial real estate in Alexandria is still soft, and we were told at the outset that we should expect this process to take 12-18 months. Our realtor says that the excellent, “show-ready” condition of the building is a plus; staff are to be congratulated for their hard work in maintaining the upkeep of this important SLA asset.

While we await bids from prospective buyers, staff have been visiting other office spaces and viewing online listings to identify potential new sites for our headquarters operations.  Staff have also leased some of the vacant offices in our building to a firm that is headquartered in the same complex. The lease is structured so it can be terminated on 30 days’ notice, so as not to deter any potential buyers. This arrangement has worked well so far, and the income from the tenants is helping to offset some of our day-to-day operating costs.

The building sale process is being monitored by a board subcommittee that is reporting regularly to the board. I am a member of this subcommittee, as are the following SLA members and staff:

  • Marilyn Bromley
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl
  • Natasha Kenner
  • Brent Mai
  • Doug Newcomb
  • Carolyn Sosnowski

If you have questions about the sale, I encourage you to read the memo announcing the sale and the Q&A document that was prepared in March 2014. You can also send questions to me at sla@sla.org or to any of the subcommittee members listed above.

— Kate Arnold, SLA President

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