Virginia continues effort to land FBI headquarters

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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The J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, D.C., no
longer meets the FBI’s needs. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Could Virginia soon welcome another federal agency? State officials have been working to bring the FBI to the Old Dominion since the agency announced last year it was looking for a new home. The FBI says the current headquarters in the nearly 40-year-old J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, D.C.,  no longer meets its needs. The bureau is looking to consolidate 11,000 employees at one location. 

The General Services Administration (GSA), tasked with finding the FBI its new home, outlined some minimum requirements in its Request for Expressions of Interest, which were due in December. The GSA is looking for sites in Washington, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland. The headquarters must be within two miles of a Metro station and 2.5 miles of the Capital Beltway. Proposed locations also must be able to accommodate up to 2.1 million square feet of space which GSA estimates would require about 50 acres.

A GSA-owned warehouse by the Franconia-Springfield Metro station has garnered big support from Virginia politicians, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. But the Springfield site is rumored to be next to a CIA facility, according to an article published by The Washington Post last spring. Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee District) who is promoting the Springfield site, sees that as a benefit, not a hindrance. 

“I think one of the other real strategic benefits that we have over the Maryland site is we not only have federally owned land, but we also have private-sector land and private-sector players around the property that afford us the opportunity to have very creative opportunities on the table. So what has been put into the package allows the federal government to ignore the CIA presence, incorporate it, relocate it — I mean it runs the entire gamut of possibility.”

Other sites mentioned in the press have been near the Greenbelt Metro station and the former Landover Mall in Maryland as well as a 40-acre site at Poplar Point in Washington, D.C. 

GSA is not releasing the list of submitted sites because it is considered sensitive information, says spokesman Dan Cruz. “However, those sites available for use as part of the Developer Solicitation are expected to be identified in spring 2014 as part of the government’s public scoping of the project pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The overall process to find a new home for the FBI will conclude in 2015,” he said in an email.

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