Officials from Maryland and Prince George’s County took turns playing cheerleader Monday at a news conference aimed at persuading the Obama administration to build a new FBI headquarters in the county for 11,000 employees.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and members of Congress waved placards and led cheers of “We’re all in” at the University of Maryland in College Park, arguing that Prince George’s not only offered the best deal to the federal government but ought to be given the project after being turned down for others.
“If you look at the history of where the federal government has leased space in this national capital region, you will see that there is one county that has been passed over time and time again,” O’Malley said.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) said she has been pushing the administration to provide Maryland with a level playing field and vowed that Prince George’s would beat out Northern Virginia. About 4 percent of federally leased space in the area is in Prince George’s, compared with 45 percent in the District, 16 percent in Arlington County, 15 percent in Montgomery County and 11 percent in Fairfax County.
“We’re tired of Prince George’s being red-lined, by-lined, sidelined — it’s time to say goodbye to that old image and hello to the new jobs, leading the way with the FBI,” Mikulski said.
She likened the delegation’s effort to that of the University of Maryland’s women’s basketball team.
“We beat Army on the basketball court, and we’re going to beat out Northern Virginia in the federal competition,” she said.
The FBI is looking to consolidate its headquarters operations from the dated J. Edgar Hoover Building and 20 leased locations to a new campus within two miles of a Metro station and 21 / 2 miles of the Capital Beltway, prompting a furious battle among local jurisdictions. In December, top Virginia officials held a similar pep-rally-slash-news-conference to show their support for a site in Springfield.
Officials from the General Services Administration, the agency managing the search, say they have received multiple site proposals and plan to narrow the list this spring. They have not disclosed any sites.
The preference of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) is an 82-acre site at the Greenbelt Metro station. There, Renard Development has an agreement with Metro that would allow it to build a new headquarters as part of a $2 billion development — about the cost of developing the Southwest Waterfront in the District.
“It’s right near a Metro, we’ve already worked on getting funding for the infrastructure, and so we’re going to work very hard to make sure the FBI comes to Prince George’s County,” Baker said of Greenbelt.
Other sites in the county have been offered as well. Lerner Enterprises, the development firm of Washington Nationals owner Theodore N. Lerner, has proposed the 88-acre site of the former Landover Mall. That location went unmentioned at Monday’s event.
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