FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s new headquarters will be in Maryland, a significant victory for the state following years of jockeying against Virginia and debate throughout several presidencies about where best to locate the law enforcement agency.
The General Services Administration picked the Greenbelt, Maryland, site Wednesday over the Springfield, Virginia, and Landover, Maryland, options, according to a source with knowledge confirming the GSA’s decision to Maryland Matters and States Newsroom.
GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a written statement to States Newsroom and Maryland Matters that “GSA looks forward to building the FBI a state-of-the-art headquarters campus in Greenbelt to advance their critical mission for years to come.”
“Thank you to everyone at GSA, DOJ, FBI, Congress, and others who helped reach this important milestone after a comprehensive, multi-year effort,” Carnahan said.
A spokesperson for the federal agency said in a written statement that “GSA determined Greenbelt to be the best site because it was the lowest cost to taxpayers, provided the greatest transportation access to FBI employees and visitors, and gave the government the most certainty on project delivery schedule.
“It also provided the highest potential to advance sustainability and equity,” the spokesperson said.
The Washington Post originally reported the decision.
Virginia Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a written statement they’re “deeply disappointed that despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the Administration went a different direction.”
“We spent years appropriately criticizing the last Administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters — only for a new Administration to come in and allow politics to taint the selection process,” Warner and Kaine said.
Virginia Democratic U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly said in a written statement that he was not given a heads-up about the decision.
“In making this decision, GSA has shamelessly caved to political pressure, putting blatant politics over the merits and amending the weighting of long-established criteria to make this decision all but predictable,” Connolly wrote.
“While Virginia’s loss is also the FBI’s, GSA’s reputation for objective procurement free from politics has taken a mortal hit today from which it will struggle to recover for years into the future,” Connolly added.
Congress will still need to provide funding for construction, which is expected to take several years to complete.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will be moving from its current headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The J. Edgar Hoover building, which opened in 1974, puts the FBI between the White House and the U.S. Capitol on a street that presidents often walk down during their Inauguration parades.
Nearly two decades ago, in 2005, the FBI’s Asset Management Plan indicated the agency would soon need a new headquarters, given the building’s structural and space issues.
Plans progressed slowly during the latter years of the Obama administration, but the Trump administration tried to keep the FBI in its existing location, with reports alleging former President Donald Trump didn’t want the site potentially sold to a rival hotel.
Plans to move the FBI headquarters to the suburbs outside of Washington, D.C. began moving forward again during the Biden administration.
The Maryland and Virginia delegations pitched their states to the GSA in March, a provision that was required in a government spending package.
The GSA considered five criteria in picking the new location, including FBI mission requirements, access to transportation, site development flexibility, sustainability and equity, and cost.
FBI mission requirements included the distance to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia as well as the U.S. Department of Justice in downtown Washington, D.C.
The GSA weighted each of the categories, though it changed that criteria in July.
Proximity to the FBI mission-related locations moved from 35% to 25%, transportation access moved from 25% to 20%, site development flexibility stayed at 15%, sustainability and equity increased from 15% to 20% and cost increased from 10% to 20%.
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