Free offices with a view: Four lighthouses, courtesy of feds

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND (AP) — Dreading your eventual return to the office? The federal government is making available — for free — some waterfront workspaces with killer views that are sure to entice. But there’s a catch.

The General Services Administration (GSA) said the United States (US) Coast Guard has decided it no longer needs four of the nation’s most picturesque lighthouses, and it’s inviting certain types of organisations to take them over at no cost.

The GSA, which has been getting rid of its large inventory of obsolete lighthouses, said last Thursday that Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, Rhode Island — America’s third-oldest lighthouse, and a beacon that defeated British forces torched out of spite in 1779 as they withdrew from the new nation — is up for grabs.

So are Watch Hill Light in Westerly, Rhode Island, not far from Taylor Swift’s beachside mansion; Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Light in Ohio; and Duluth Harbor North Pierhead Light in Minnesota.

Conditionally, that is: The government says it’ll make the historic lighthouses and their outbuildings available free of charge to federal, state and local agencies; non-profit organisations; educational and community development agencies; or groups devoted to parks, recreation, culture, or historic preservation.

The Beavertail Lighthouse, the third-oldest lighthouse in America, at the tip of Beavertail State Park, on Narragansett Bay, in Jamestown, Rhode Island. PHOTO: AP

Beavertail Light “has been determined to be excess to the needs of the US Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security”, GSA spokesperson Paul Hughes said in a statement.

Beavertail Light has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1977. The 19.5-metre granite lighthouse faces south where Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound meet, offering drop-dead-gorgeous ocean vistas.

All that remains of the original lighthouse is its foundation; it was constructed in 1749 and burned down by British soldiers leaving the Newport area in 1779. The current lighthouse was built in 1856 along with six additional structures totalling 480 square metres.

Hughes said the government is asking interested groups to formally express their interest in the next 60 days, and the National Park Service will review the applications. Perched on a peninsula, Watch Hill Light is a three-storey granite block tower with a cast iron and glass lantern on top. It’s attached to a two-storey brick keepers dwelling built in 1935. Outbuildings on the 4.5-acre complex include an oil house built in 1855-1856.