Historic preservation status for hundreds of buildings is keeping the Department of Veterans Affairs from selling them and potentially saving $23 million, according to VA Secretary David J. Shulkin.
The VA owns thousands of Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II buildings, many of which are vacant, Shulkin said in a Monday Washington Examiner report.
“Even though they are buildings that we aren’t using or buildings that are too old to viably use, they still have historic preservation status,” Shulkin said about 100 buildings from the Civil War and Revolutionary War.
Thirty-five percent of the VA’s 6,297 real estate holdings have historical preservation status, including a total of 2,226 buildings, hospitals, private garages, and one bowling alley in Iowa, according to the Examiner.
“We owe it to the American taxpayer to apply as much of our funding as possible to helping veterans . . . we need to move rapidly to bring savings to taxpayers,” Shulkin said in the Examiner’s report.
“I could be using that money to support the capital needs of buildings and facilities that are helping veterans,” Shulkin said in May, according to The Hill.
Officials with the VA said in the Examiner’s report that Shulkin is working with nongovernmental organizations as well as local governments for partnerships that could offer housing in the buildings for veterans.
“We don’t want to just demolish them. That’s a last resort,” spokesman Terrence Hayes said in the Examiner.