It’s Greenbelt: Maryland site chosen for new FBI headquarters

After years of back-and-forth and speculation about where the new FBI headquarters will be located, the General Services Administration has confirmed that a site in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been chosen.

FILE – The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, home to FBI headquarters, is seen Friday, June 9, 2023, in Washington. The General Services Administration announced changes to the criteria for selecting a location for a new FBI headquarters on Friday, July 14, increasing two potential sites in Maryland, which has been competing with Virginia for the agency’s new home. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)(AP/Alex Brandon)

After years of back-and-forth and speculation about where the new FBI headquarters will be located, the General Services Administration confirmed Wednesday that a site in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been selected.

Maryland and Virginia both lobbied hard for the chance to become the new headquarters, and the selection of Greenbelt quickly sparked a series of angry reactions from Virginia officials.

The Washington Post first reported the news.

A spokesman for the General Services Administration said in a statement that “GSA determined that Greenbelt was the best location because it was the lowest cost to taxpayers, provided the greatest transportation access for FBI employees and visitors, and provided the government with the greatest assurance of to the project delivery plan. . It also provided the highest potential to promote sustainability and equity.”

“GSA looks forward to building the FBI a state-of-the-art headquarters in Greenbelt to advance their critical mission for years to come,” GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a statement, calling the selection a “significant milestone” after a multi-year effort.

Frustration from Virginia officials

Virginia officials expressed disappointment with the Maryland election.

“We are deeply disappointed that, despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the administration went in a different direction,” said Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine in a joint statement Wednesday night.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, whose district includes one of the potential sites in Fairfax County, echoed the Virginia senators’ criticism, saying the GSA has “shamelessly bowed to political pressure,” prompting the agency’s 11th-hour change in criteria. for choosing a place.

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“We spent years criticizing the last administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters — only for a new administration to come in and allow politics to corrupt the selection process,” Warner and Kaine said.

In 2022, the GSA indicated that it had narrowed its search to three possible locations — Greenbelt and Landover in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Virginia officials touted Springfield for its proximity to the FBI Academy at Quantico.

Later, the GSA, which serves as the federal government’s landlord, released a controversial scoring system that would be used to help make the final selection. The scoring system sparked heated debate from lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland, with accusations of an unfair process and political interference.

The new criteria gave greater weight to cost and social equity than proximity to the FBI Academy.

Alsobrooks responds to claims that the decision was politicized

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks thanked the GSA for being “so thoughtful in this decision” while responding to the pushback from Virginia officials.

“I think after hearing from both Virginia and Maryland, GSA was able to make a decision that we believe was always the right decision based on the criteria that had been established for at least the last decade,” Alsobrooks said during an interview. with journalists.

“Greenbelt, for example, is the only place that is located at a transportation hub by the Greenbelt Metro,” she said.

She also said the Greenbelt site was between $300-500 million cheaper than the Virginia site. Alsobrooks said that’s because the Maryland site is “shovel-ready,” while the proposed Virginia location would require buildings to be demolished or relocated.

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Sweet victory for Maryland officials

Maryland leaders said the Landover and Greenbelt locations “could provide a greater economic and employment impact than would Virginia” and would support the Biden-Harris administration’s “commitment to equity.”

“It was hard to deny that the federal government had already spent $460 billion in Virginia over the past 15 years only spending $120 billion investing in Prince George’s County,” Alsobrooks said.

The county executive said, “we know these investments provide income and allow job growth to happen.”

Meanwhile, Maryland leaders including senators, representatives, Gov. Wes Moore and Alsobrooks called the announcement a “historic moment.”

“After a thorough deliberation process and consideration of stakeholder input, GSA selected the Greenbelt site as the location for the new FBI headquarters,” Maryland leaders said in a joint statement. “GSA’s analysis of the facts and its consultations revealed that the Greenbelt site is the most appropriate of the three final candidates when all factors were considered.”

More recently, Moore has argued that building the Greenbelt headquarters would be quick and save taxpayers $1 billion.

The office has been in its location on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC since 1975, but talk of moving the headquarters has been going on for at least a decade.

The move was largely put on hold during President Donald Trump’s administration, when FBI officials in 2019 recommended keeping the DC headquarters across the street from the Justice Department.

When President Joe Biden took office, the relocation of the FBI headquarters again picked up speed.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.