President Donald Trump has nominated Gino Campana, a former Fort Collins city councilman and real estate developer, to a little-known federal board tasked with selling federal property.
Campana, who also chairs the Larimer County Republican Party, was chosen to chair the Public Buildings Reform Board, a panel created in 2016 with the sole goal of selling billions of dollars of federal buildings that are unused or underused.
“It is non-partisan and it is difficult to find an argument against it,” Campana said of the board Friday. “We’re determining underutilized assets, figuring out how to sell them, and maximizing proceeds for our federal government. Everybody wins.”
Campana said he reached out to the Trump administration and asked how he can be of assistance. After an interview and a few conversations, the Presidential Personnel Office got back to him and mentioned the PBRB, which he had not heard of. After reading about it, he thought it was a perfect fit. A background check was done and his nomination was announced by the White House on Nov. 24.
Campana might have a calendar problem, however. The chairmanship requires U.S. Senate confirmation and there are only a few weeks remaining in the 116th Congress. If Campana is not confirmed before Jan. 20, President Joe Biden could nominate someone else for the position next year.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Is this going to happen?’ and I tell them, ‘I have no idea and no control over it,’” Campana said with a laugh.
“That’s definitely a concern of mine. I’m not sure if others are as concerned because there are so many other things going on right now. But it is a concern.”
The PBRB was created by bipartisan legislation that passed unanimously through Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in the waning weeks of his presidency. It will sunset in 2025 unless extended by Congress.
Late last year, the board, which has a full-time director and staff, submitted an initial list of properties valued at more than $500 million it believes should be sold. High on the list is what remains of the Denver VA Medical Center, a largely vacant complex near the Rose Medical Center. Since a VA hospital opened in Aurora in 2018, the Denver center has only housed a post-traumatic stress disorder clinic.
The PBRB expects to sell eight acres — about 530,000 square feet, plus an eight-story parking garage. The federal government spends nearly $4 million annually maintaining its mostly vacant buildings there.
“It’s ripe for redevelopment,” Campana said. “It’s severely underutilized.”
Money from that sale, and others facilitated by the PBRB, will go into a fund for constructing and maintaining federal buildings across the country.
Campana founded Bellisimo, a Fort Collins development company, and has spent 25 years in the real estate industry. He was elected to the Fort Collins City Council in 2013, served one term, and was a finalist to be gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton’s running mate in 2018, before Stapleton chose Lang Sias instead.
Source: Read Full Article