Bankruptcy Court Moving to Save Money

(CN) - The U.S. Judiciary says it will save more than $1 million a year by relocating a Miami bankruptcy court to a nearby federal courthouse.
     The move is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures the judiciary has announced since the 2008 financial crisis and last year's budget sequestration.
     Calling the relocation project the courts' most "ambitious to date," the judiciary said the move was part of a nationwide effort to reduce space and give back vacant space to the U.S. General Services Administration.
     "Reducing space and rent is among the Judiciary's top cost-containment objectives," the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said in its publication, The Third Branch News.
     "Federal courts pay $1 billion each year for courthouses and offices - even after a decade-long rent-reduction effort has cut projected costs about $400 million annually. The Judicial Conference of the United States has directed the 12 regional circuits to reduce total space 3 percent by September 2018."
     The Miami bankruptcy court occupies 31,000 square feet in the Claude Pepper Federal Building on 51 South West 1st Ave. The court will move to the C. Clyde Atkins Federal Court, one-third of mile away. A third building, the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, will take two magistrate judges from the Atkins building to make room for the bankruptcy court.
     "As part of the relocation, the Southern District of Florida also will relinquish a vacant jury assembly area at the King Building," The Third Branch News said. "That will save an additional $300,000 annually. Total project savings are estimated at $1.1 million annually."
     The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts offers incentives to courts that save space. It will pay the district and bankruptcy courts $800,000 for giving up the space at 1st Ave., "the equivalent of one year's rent savings," the newsletter says.
     One of the project's chief architects, Bankruptcy Court Clerk Katherine Gould Feldman for the Southern District of Florida, told the newsletter the court had struggled to maintain its chambers at the court's current home.
     She seemed happy to make the move after renovations at the Atkins building are completed this fall.
     "It starts with attitude. If you want to get it done, you will find a way to get it done," said Feldman, who helped conceive the project in late 2012. "I think it's why we were able to accomplish so much, in such a short period, with so much support."