The General Services Administration on Friday formally opened a search for a new campus for an FBI headquarters, saying it is looking for 50 acres within two miles of a Metro station and two-and-a-half miles of the Capital Beltway.
The FBI says its current home at the J. Edgar Hoover Building no longer fits its needs, and the GSA, which manages federal real estate, has already solicited ideas from developers and local governments about how it might trade the Hoover building for a new headquarters.
Months later, the GSA is now specifying what locations it will consider, narrowing the parts of the region that are eligible to receive the FBI’s 11,000 headquarters jobs. Among the minimum requirements the GSA will require, according to an advertisement it plans to post late Friday afternoon:
• Location in one of the following jurisdictions: the District; Montgomery or Prince George’s counties in Maryland; or Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun or Prince William counties in Virginia, including Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Vienna and Manassas.
However, given their distance from the Beltway, sites in Loudoun and Prince William counties are effectively eliminated. Loudoun officials submitted eight properties that they had hoped would fit the bill. The Westphalia development in Prince George’s County, more than five miles from a Metro station, also doesn’t fit the bill.
• Property that can accommodate 2.1 million square feet of office and related space, including parking as related by local rules. The GSA “anticipates that approximately 50 acres would be needed to satisfy this project requirement” it said in a statement.
• Level V security protection, the same level given to the Pentagon and CIA headquarters.
• Access to Metro and the Beltway. Specifically, “the closest boundary line of the site offered shall be within 2 miles by paved public access road of a Metrorail station, and either inside the Capital Beltway or within 2.5 miles by paved public access road of a Capital Beltway interchange.”
• Adequate access to public utilities.
The requirements closely track those in a resolution set by a Senate committee in 2011, but they would eliminate the possibility that the FBI could relocate farther into Northern Virginia, such as to Culpepper or Stafford counties. The Republican-controlled House has not passed any legislation guiding the search.
In March the GSA said it received 35 initial ideas from local developers and government officials. It has since said that it actually received 38 proposals and although the GSA did not make the proposals public, many of the respondents did. Officials in Maryland rallied behind a Greenbelt location and Fairfax County leaders pushed Springfield as a home.
GSA set a Dec. 17 deadline for proposals and expects to choose one or more of those locations before it issues a targeted request for companies interested in building the new FBI headquarters at those locations. The agency hopes to narrow the list of locations early next year, seek a development partner in mid-2014 and select a partner to build the new FBI campus in 2015.
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