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of about 1,600,000 square feet of prime exhibit space with a high ceiling.
This floor would be the first level above the railroad tracks and would vastly extend the National Visitor Center as presently proposed, providing a continuous exhibit space from the front of the existing terminal building all the way back to L Street.
The immediate and complete use of this floor, of 1.6 million square feet gross, would be given to the National Visitor Center by the founding corporation, except possibly for a relatively small double-decked area of about 150,000 square feet on which would be built the new and modernized terminal facilities.
Our studies indicate, however, that the new railroad terminal facility could and perhaps should be constructed in the area shown on plate 3 in the printed statement, except one floor lower. This would be possible without infringing upon the Mail Handling Building area, since the roof of that building is at the same level as the floors of the concourse and esplanade.
This would allow the entire first floor to be used by the Department of Interior for the purposes of the National Visitor Center as a natural extension from the esplanade. It would also allow the omission of the “escalators to tracks” shown in plate 3 of this printed statement, since train passengers would be able to reach their train platforms on the same level as that of the terminal offices where they would have bought their tickets.
This plan would also allow enlargement of the esplanade area as indicated on plate 3. Moreover, the “ramp up” shown on plate 3 would be practically level with California Street from which it originates. Egress from the terminal facility for automobiles and buses could be either via a second "flat ramp” back to California Street, lanes of the same ramp enlarged, or via the first parking floor and the west ramp.
However designed and engineered, this proposal would bring about a much-needed redevelopment of this mail-handling building corner. The
very old and delapidated building would be razed and rebuilt in the process of putting in foundations with perhaps more efficient and additional mail-handling facilities for the Post Office Department, at no cost to the Government.
The addition of this 1,600,000 square feet of prime exhibit space to the National Visitor Center and the additional 7,000 parking spaces would allow the present accomplishment of stated objectives which could not be accomplished by the Center' as presently conceived.
First, Public Law 89-790 calls for provision for "exhibits and displays"--and I am quoting—"by the individual States, territories, possessions, and the District of Columbia with respect to their history, resources, scenic attractions, and other appropriate matters.” This large additional space would be ample for these individual displays and with a large amount of space remaining to provide for more thorough and instructive exhibits of the Federal Government and the Nation's Capital, as well as ample space for accommodating the large projected increases in numbers of visitors. Moreover, it is an understanding that the Smithsonian Institution has warehouses full of first-class Americana exhibit material which it has no place to show. Some of this space could be used to great advantage for selected exhibits from this source.
Second, the Study Commission report recommendations state, “At the earliest date, consideration should be given to expanding the park
ing garage to its maximum capacity, as controlled by the access ramp: from Union Station Plaza.” The parking problem would be solved by our additional 7,000 spaces, especially in view of additional ramps which would be constructed in other sections of the new building in coordination with the District of Columbia and Federal road planners.
The 7,000 parking spaces would be arranged on eight floors, which would be directly behind the presently proposed four floors containing 3,000 to 4,000 spaces.
The new building beginning behind all parking and extending to L Street would have six floors in addition to the exhibit floor donated to the Visitor Center. Five of these would be leased out and the sixth would be occupied by the Electronic Education and Information Center. A brief statement of its functions is included herein—that is, in the printed statement-and without repeating it here, I will ask the chairman that it be printed in the record of these hearings.
Mr. GRAY. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. POWELL. Suffice it to say here that this Center will have three functions: First, the creation and dissemination of educational and vocational training courses throughout the United States utilizing the most modern and efficient techniques and methods, both electronic and otherwise; second, the gathering, storing, retrieving, updating, and transmitting upon inquiry information which will be useful to business and government relative to the social, economic, political, governmental, and legal conditions and development existing in all countries of the world—this information will be stored in a computer system-and third, the conduct of research in both the hardware and software used in accomplishing the first two functions.
On the top floor of the new building we would establish a convention center and provide two large rooms of convention hall proportions-a facility badly needed in Washington. One of the large rental floors could be made available for chanceries of those foreign governments needing space, although we would be guided in this by the State Department's policy and wishes.
The American Foundation for World Trade Studies, Inc., would set up its outside information-gathering facilities immediately and begin its work for the Electronic Education and Information Center so that by the time the building is completed, in 3 years' time, the education and information programs will be ready for immediate implementation.
This entire program will be primarily financed by the issue of the 5-percent bonds of the U.S. Visitor Center Founding Corp. pursuant to a negotiated underwriting agreement with a large underwriting firm in New York. The firm with which we have discussed this matter advises us that this project is feasible from an underwriting standpoint under certain conditions.
We must make these bonds as attractive to investors as any municpal bond by having the interest we would pay on them made tax exempt to the purchaser thereof. This can only be achieved by Federal legislation, and we are asking that this bill be amended to include such a provision.
Mr. GRAY. Let me interrupt you there, Mr. Powell, if I may.
You are asking, then, if this venture goes forward, that you be treated as a municipality? You are going to provide a public service by making a large number of square footage of floor space available for public use, that you require no taxpayers' funds, but you would need tax-exempt bonds the same as a municipality?
Mr. POWELL. I hesitate to say we want to be treated as a municipality, because it is a private, though nonprofit, corporation. I am just comparing the fact
Mr. GRAY. Maybe the question is not clear.
Mr. POWELL. The fact the bonds would be exempt would be similar to bonds of municipalities that are issued to build similar projects for the public.
Mr. GRAY. This is what I had reference to; you want similar treatment as the municipalities is what I had reference to.
Mr. POWELL. Yes. Yes.
Such an exemption is completely justified when the following is considered:
First, the donation of the large additional space of 1,600,000 square feet to the National Visitor Center, a fair rental value of $10,520,000 per year.
Second, the provision of a critically needed additional 7,000 parking spaces to make a total onsite availability of 10,000 automobile spaces and parking for 116 buses. We will, however, have to have a nominal charge for parking in the 7,000-space area. We are anticipating a charge of $1.50 or less per car for all day parking.
Third, the principal activities in the new building will be a nonprofit education and information center and a nonprofit international ciub.
Fourth, the founding cooperation would pay real estate taxes to the District of Columbia government of $2,758,000 per year. This would amount to about $52,213,000 over the 23-year bond amortization period and should far more than pay for the road, freeway, and street rearrangement for easy ingress and egress to the National Visitor Center, as well as modernizing the depressing underpassess on H, K, and L streets.
Fifth, the new building complex would place a sizable wedge of redevelopment in an area in very urgent need of it embarrassingly close to the Capitol. This new building and its activities would undoubtedly cause a spate of further redevelopment in the surrounding area, including yet further additional parking, hotel facilities, and so forth.
Sixth, of the total number of square feet of building constructed, not counting parking, only about one-half would be devoted to the production of rental income. The other half would be utilized by the National Visitor Center and the Electronic Education and Information Center at no charge. Total area would be 10,539,400 square feet; total rental area would be 5,800,500 square feet and a rental rate of $6 per square foot is anticipated.
Seventh, the tax exemption of the bonds cannot be argued to cost the Government money, because without the exemption, there would be no bonds and no interest income at all, since this project cannot be done on this basis without the bonds being tax exempt. Moreover, it cannot be argued that investors would invest in taxable incomeproducing securities if they did not invest in these bonds, because the money which will be invested in these bonds most likely would be put into other tax-exempt municipals if it were not invested here.
I might also say that the total issue of bonds would be only threetenths of 1 percent of the total issue of tax-exempt bonds now outstanding, which are about $1.5 billion.
Moreover, since the greatest part of the administrative budgetthat is, our budget-is for salaries, the income taxes therefrom will generate a large new source of Federal revenue.
I would like to give a brief visual presentation at this point after which I will give a final justification for the bonds being treated as municipals.
Mr. Gray. You may proceed.
Mr. POWELL. I have a few slides to show. You can get a better picture of what we are proposing.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. May I raise a question?
Mr. Gray. He wants to show some slides, then we may ask questions.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. All right.
Here you can see a rough sketch of the cross section of the proposed addition. I should point out at the outset that this building is certainly not architected or engineered, although the vertical and horizontal information on these plates is accurate.
The present building is indicated by this blue-shaded area. The larger of the two domes is your main building; the smaller dome behind it is the long concourse.
Now the Study Commission proposes to build these additions, indicated by the yellow-shaded areas, and that includes the esplanade and the 4,000 parking spaces behind, plus the new terminal, which would be built in this area (indicating].
Our proposal is to add the parking spaces behind the 4,000 parking spaces and build the building there behind those parking spaces as seen running back 2,100 feet.
Of that new building, we would donate to the Visitor Center the red area floor (indicating]. It is drawn here with a 20-foot ceiling. In fact, the vertical information is a 30-foot ceiling above the trains might be able to be left, a 20-foot ceiling of this large exhibit floor, and the other floors 10 feet apart with two large floors here in the building itself, and of course a helicopter facility on top.
Now, the Study Commission plan at present has the escalators running from the esplanade up to the first floor parking. I do not want to confuse you by this plate. We have shown it here coming in a floor lower. [Slide.]
I might also point out these are very preliminary suggestions, of course, even more preliminary than the well-developed Study Com mission's report.
Now, this shows a sketch of the area as it presently exists. This is the existing station, this is the long concourse here, and the tracks begin right behind the concourse [indicating].
Now, these tracks [indicating] would be moved, under the Study Commission plan, back to about the point of my pencil, and the esplanade would be built in here.
The ends of this concourse building, about 100 feet off of each end would be removed in order for the ramps to be built there. The yellowshaded area shows the part of the concourse that would be removed.
The two ramps proposed in the Study Commission report are this ramp and this ramp [indicating]. This ramp would be for ingress and this ramp would be for egress. And of course these branches here indicate the Study Commission's traffic flow in front of the new terminal facility and out over here and out the outgoing ramp.
These are the connections to the Post Office Building, which is right across the street in this direction (indicating] and you can see here the mail-handling buildings, which is a building over which we would propose including part of this new building. The new building would come all the way out to here [indicating] and down to L Street, and over this property too, over the railroad tracks.
Since we would redevelop this entire corner, we think it might be better to have a ramp coming in from that side, which would allow an enlargement of the esplanade of the Study Commission in this area around this corner, since there would not be a ramp here [indicating), although this is a matter which could be studied with a new hypothesis of developing this corner. [Slide.]
This pIate shows the floor built in. This is the esplanade planned by the Study Commission, and this shows how it could be extended around the corner here. These are the theater groupings here. This is the cyclorama and this is your planned floor screen for
Mr. GRAY. Diorama.
The Study Commission plan calls for two escalators here [indicating]. I have drawn in three more here and three more here [indicating). This is thought to be made necessary by the fact that we are giving this entire floor, running a large distance back, for an extension of the Visitor Center. There would probably have to be more means or ingress and egress to that area.
Mr. GRAY. Are you proposing the Government pay for these escalators or would that be part of your plan?
Mr. POWELL. That is all part of our plan. Any expense involved with the connecting of our facility to the Study Commission's facility would be paid by us, and of course the connection, the mode of connection would be subject to discussion and approval by the Planning Committee and the Fine Arts Commission, and so forth.
Now, this picture here shows the mail-handling building area, which is here sindicating], and shows a new terminal office space here [indicating] in the corner, which would not interrupt this large space behind the presently proposed Center.
Mr. Gray. That plan has been changed, I understand, and they now plan to have the entire railroad facility underneath the parking facility.
Mr. POWELL. Oh, is that a fact?
Mr. POWELL. In that case there would be no problem. There would be no problem in any case.
Here the railroad terminal is shown on the same level as the Study Commission, with the escalators down, and one escalator leading down here to the lower track level.