The Washington Post

Virginia politicians pressing for FBI headquarters in Springfield


A group of Virginia politicians has signaled support for locating the new Federal Bureau of Investigations headquarters in Springfield, renewing efforts to bring the campus to their state after site-selection guidelines all but eliminated other Northern Virginia locations.

Elected officials from the federal, state and county levels had scheduled a press conference for Monday morning to back the proposal, but they canceled the event due to expected bad weather. They have not yet rescheduled.

The lawmakers included Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D), Reps. Jim Moran (D), Frank Wolf (R) and Gerry Connolly (D), as well as Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe and several state legislators and county officials.

FBI headquarters - (Jeffrey MacMillan/For The Washington Post) FBI headquarters – (Jeffrey MacMillan/For The Washington Post)

The General Services Administration, which manages federal properties, announced late last year that it planned to move the FBI’s main office out of the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Since then, local officials from D.C., Maryland and Virginia have made their cases for landing the new campus.

Maryland’s entire congressional delegation banded together in April to make a push for locating the headquarters in Prince George’s County, issuing a joint letter to the FBI and GSA that month.

Maryland’s senior senator, Barbara Mikulski (D), has said that 43 percent of FBI headquarters employees live in Maryland, compared to 33 percent in Virginia and 17 percent in D.C.

Virginia’s congressional delegation has not united behind plans for relocating the campus to Northern Virginia, but both of the state’s U.S. senators and four of its U.S. representatives issued a statement in January supporting the idea.

As for guidelines, GSA has said it wants approximately 50 acres of land located within 2.5 miles of the Capital Beltway and no further than 2 miles from a Metro station. Those guidelines effectively ruled out proposed sites in D.C. and Virginia’s Prince William and Loudoun counties.

GSA spokesman Dan Cruz said the language regarding the acreage is not a minimum or maximum requirement, suggesting that relatively small sites in densely-developed D.C. could still form viable options.

“Any jurisdiction or property owner that believes they have a site that would satisfy the needs of this project is strongly encouraged to propose that property for consideration,” Cruz said.

The Government Accountability Office said in a 2011 report that the FBI’s main office is too small, lacking in adequate security and deteriorating structurally.

A study released in July said D.C. stands to lose 4,800 jobs if the headquarters moves to the suburbs. But the move would also open the door for redeveloping the current site, bringing in as much as $28 million per year in tax revenue if the private sector begins using the location, the report said.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail with news tips and other suggestion.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



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Josh Hicks · December 9, 2013

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