A veteran U.S. senator is hammering mortgage giant Fannie Mae over its plans for a new regional headquarters in Plano, Texas.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has raised a red flag over he says are “$24.2 million in excessive costs for the leased building in Plano.”
Fannie last year leased at 10-story, 330,000-square-foot building near the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121.
Plano-based developer Granite Properties is building the high-rise for Fannie, which plans to downsize its Dallas-area offices and move them into the new tower in the Granite Park development.
Grassley in a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin Watt said that deal for the new Plano office indicates a lack of oversight.
“Choosing an area of Dallas known as the ‘platinum corridor’ makes me wonder who’s minding the store,” Grassley said. “It is inexcusable that neither Fannie Mae nor FHFA have conducted an appropriate review to determine the reasonableness of the lease or the budgeted build-out costs for this project.
“As an agency charged with oversight of the mortgage market, Fannie Mae has an even greater responsibility to effectively manage its own real estate project(s) and to do so in a manner that is not wasteful of taxpayer dollars.”
Grassley asked FHFA — which oversees Fannie — to provide a detailed accounting of the decision to move to the new Plano building and an analysis of the costs.
“Please explain why the build-out costs per square foot increased for the Granite Park VII office space, from $200 to $234.02 over a five-month period,” he said in the letter.
Fannie signed a 15-year lease in the Granite Park building, which will be ready late this year.
It’s moving workers from the Dallas Galleria office towers and other locations in North Texas.
Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, member of the Senate Finance Committee and has been in office since 1981.