The Washington Post

House debates future of FBI headquarters

Local members of Congress prodded federal officials to consider their jurisdictions for a future FBI headquarters at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday, all the while pressing for a politics-free decision.

General Services Administration officials are evaluating 35 responses the agency received this month in its search for ideas about how it might trade the dated J. Edgar Hoover Building, a prime development site, to secure a new FBI headquarters.

There was little argument that the FBI needs a new home during the hearing held by the House subcommittee overseeing public buildings. Completed in 1974, the Hoover building was configured with vast amounts of paper storage, a firing range and a crime lab.

“These features, among others, now represent deficiencies,” said Dorothy Robyn, commissioner of the GSA’s public buildings service. Only about 1.3 million square feet of the 2.1-million-square-foot building can be used for office space.

Six local House members appeared at the hearing to lobby for their respective jurisdictions. A new FBI headquarters will also mean about 11,000 workers.

Completed in 1974, J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C. was configured with vast amounts of paper storage, a firing range and a crime lab. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) told the subcommittee that of FBI headquarters employees, 43 percent live in Maryland, 33 percent in Virginia and 17 percent in the District. (Neither GSA or FBI officials would confirm the numbers.) He and Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) said Prince George’s County was the ideal location.

Reps. James P. Moran and Gerald E. Connolly, Democrats from Virginia, advocated for two sites: a federally owned warehouse in Springfield and the Center for Innovative Technology campus in Herndon.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) said he did not want the GSA to require the FBI to relocate within 21 / 2 miles of the Capital Beltway, as a 2011 Senate resolution proposed, because it would unfairly disqualify Loudoun and Prince William counties.

“When you write that down, you aren’t saying the name [of another location] but you are in effect forcing them to go,” he said.

Kevin Perkins, FBI associate deputy director, said the agency was open to any sites that could meet the operational and security requirements. By consolidating 21 headquarters locations, many of them leased, into one 2.1-million-square-foot facility, he estimated that the FBI could save $44 million annually.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), the subcommittee’s chairman, warned that although he recognized the FBI’s need for a new headquarters, “I do not imagine the committee writing a blank check.”

Robyn said it likely will be months before the GSA reviews the ideas submitted and decides whether to issue a more targeted search for a private development partner.

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says ...
This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.