No decision has been made about whether to relocate the
headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the J. Edgar Hoover Building, but lots of people think the agency ought to move. The building is deteriorating badly, confirmed a report from the Government Accountability Office recently, and a Saturday Post editorial said that pedestrians walking past the building on Pennsylvania Avenue “risk being brained by wind-blown chunks of falling concrete.”
Those yearning for an FBI move, Bob Peck hears you.
Peck, head of the Public Buildings Service for the General Services Administration, has been under pressure from Congress to sell of under-utilized real estate (see Old Post Office Pavilion), and last week he called the FBI’s land a “simply unbelievable piece of real estate.” He pointed out that certain FBI functions already had moved out of downtown long ago, including its fingerprints repository, which is in West Virginia.
Peck said he could envision the Hoover building site as a public-private redevelopment. “There is an opportunity there to sell a really valuable site,” he said.
Peck said there is no list of potential relocation sites, but that if a search began, the FBI and the GSA would consider the region broadly. “So far the entire Washington region is on the table,” Peck said. “If you asked me whether they would be open to moving to Prince George’s County, the answer is yes.”
The future of the FBI could be shaped by a broad partnership the GSA and Metro are negotiating. The deal, which we first covered in August, would allow federal agencies to relocate to sites Metro owns near its stations. Peck said the two agencies are working on a memorandum of understanding that could allow the GSA to acquire sites from Metro and then seek development partners as it always does. “We might be able to say, this is the site that we want and we will conduct a private competition for the development,” he said.
“For us, it’s the opportunity to find transit-oriented sites for our agencies,” he added. “For them, it’s a lot of prime properties that they’ve been sitting on for way too long.”