P.G. County Moves Closer to Clinching FBI

Joshua Garner | 8/5/2014, 12:15 p.m. | Updated on 8/6/2014, 3 p.m.
Prince George's County inched closer to becoming the new home of the FBI after elected officials announced two locations in ...
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III joined elected officials from Maryland to announce the two locations in the county that are on the short list to be selected as the new headquarters of the FBI. Michael Yourishin

Prince George's County inched closer to becoming the new home of the FBI after elected officials announced two locations in the county have been included on a short list of sites for the bureau's new base of operation.

Locations in Greenbelt and Landover have been listed on the General Services Administration's (GSA) roster of sites to serve as the future location. The GSA, which oversees administrative affairs for the federal government, announced the decision last week. In total, 12 sites throughout the region are being proposed as a possible location for the FBI's headquarters. The GSA has now whittled that figure down to three, including one site in Springfield, Virginia. A decision is expected to be reached in the spring of 2016.

The announcement has already caused Renard Development Co., a developer eyeing the Greenbelt site, to announce its proposal to build 1.6 million-square-feet of office space, retail, apartments, and a hotel. The development would include five large offices presumably occupied by the FBI.

"It's a game changing opportunity for the county," said Victor Hoskins, an economic development advisor to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D). "The benefit comes [with] 11,000 employees that will be consolidated into the county. There will be more retail customers consolidated into the area. It would draw additional jobs to the local economy – a lot of those people are going to want to live here."

County officials said that a large federal tenant like the FBI is sorely needed to help diversify the economy in the county.

"This is like winning the primary — now we're suiting up to win the general," said U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Maryland. "We want GSA to do its due diligence."

Mikulski joined a consortium of state and elected leaders including Baker, County Council President Mel Franklin (D-District 9), Sen. Ben Cardin (D), and Reps. Steny Hoyer (D) and Donna Edwards (D) during last week's announcement. All said they had been working together to make Prince George's County a strong candidate for the bureau's relocation; in 2013, the Maryland Congressional Delegation sent a letter to both the GSA and FBI pledging their support for the FBI to relocate to the county.

"We really had a united Maryland effort to bring the FBI to Prince George's County," Baker said. "We have some of the best sites in the Washington region … Prince George's County is the place to be."

Currently located at the J. Edgar Hoover Building along Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest where it has stood since the mid-1970s, officials at the FBI have said it's in need of a larger, more modern facility that would consolidate its 20 offices throughout the region into one location. The agency officially began searching for new sites last fall.

Snagging the FBI would be a major coup for the county and state. The new FBI headquarters is estimated to be a $2 billion economic development project. According to a Maryland state report, approximately 40 percent of the FBI's employees at the current headquarters already live in Maryland. The FBI would also generate an estimated $180 million in annual tax revenues for the state.