Federal Building Renovations: Is this why we're broke?

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by Chris Nagus

KMOV.com

Posted on February 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 5:48 AM

(KMOV) -- If you have never been to the Robert Young building in downtown St. Louis you're not alone, but you might be interested to know $46 million of your tax dollars are being used to renovate the place.

The building was completed in 1931, it was originally home to the Terminal Railroad. Today, the Young building houses several federal agencies, it's managed by the Government Services Agency.

News 4 discovered the cafeteria remodel is costing taxpayers $2.4 million. Click here to see how your money is being spent. We questioned several of the expenses including a 31,663 dish machine, $120,000 worth of Silestone counter tops, and roughly $24,000 for a brick oven to make pizzas. According to GSA regional administrator Jason Klumb the GSA is mindful of taxpayer concerns, and is working to make sure taxpayer money is being used responsibly.

The building is also undergoing mechanical upgrades, along with new windows to make the building more energy efficient. The GSA estimates the energy savings will total 4 hundred thousand per year. The new windows average $4,500 a piece. News 4 learned floors 11-18 are vacant, and there are no plans to fill those floors with employees.

Virgnia congressman Bob Goodlatte has been critical of federal building renovations. Goodlatte wanted to scrap plans for a remodeling project at the Poff Building in Roanoke, Virginia. Goodlatte told News 4 it was irresponsible to spend $70 million renovating a building that cost $14 million to construct during the 1970s. The congressman also told News 4 the federal building renovations were done with no cost benefit analysis, and there were projects of higher priority that should have been tackled first. News 4 also asked about the green energy upgrades planned for the federal building in his district, Goodlatte told us the saving would take 218 years to pay off.

If you have seen something in the community that has you asking "Is this why we're broke?" email us at broke@kmov.com

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