The District has released its plan for keeping FBI headquarters within city limits, and it’s an intriguing one.
As previously reported, Mayor Vincent C. Gray is proposing to locate the new headquarters campus on the 110-acre Poplar Point site across the Anacostia River from Nationals Park. But drawings including in the official submission show that District officials want to keep the facility limited to a 10-acre footprint, leaving as much as 30 acres available for private development.
Previous reports on the FBI’s needs have discusses a space requirement of between 40 and 55 acres, which if located on the Poplar Point parcel would have precluded meaningful private development on prime waterfront land. (Seventy of the 110 acres are reserved as parkland.) But if the federal government is willing to accept the 10-acre campus — which, according to the initial rendering, features 1.5 million square feet of office space packed into a complex of nine-story buildings — it might be more palatable from the point of view of the District, which is hoping to use the Poplar Point site to spark economic development and generate tax revenue.
That’s a big “if,” though, given that the District is competing with suburban jurisdictions that will uniformly be offering larger sites that could more easily accommodate 11,000 employees. None of the suburban sites, however, offer Poplar Point’s proximity to the White House, Capitol and other federal agencies — something that the Bureau has come to enjoy over its 95-year history.