WASHINGTON — Federal officials have begun the next phases in the possible relocation of the FBI’s headquarters to Maryland.
Last week, the Obama Administration approved a $1.4 billion budget request as the next segment of funding for the new headquarters.
On Jan. 22, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced its next steps in selecting potential sites for the new facility. Two communities in Prince George’s County, as well as Springfield, Va., are the three finalists for the headquarters.
President Barack Obama intends to propose a budget that supplements the $390 million, passed by Congress in December as part of a larger spending bill. The money ultimately will enable the FBI’s relocation from the J. Edgar Hoover Federal Building, the agency’s longtime home on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, for a new site in either suburban Maryland or Virginia.
The campaign for a location in Maryland is being spearheaded by Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the ranking Democrat on Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce.
“This is great news for both the new FBI headquarters and the security of our nation,” Mikulski said in a Jan. 22 statement. “I’ve fought tooth and nail for men and women of the FBI, working to secure $390 million significant down-payment in the FY16 funding bill.”
Others backing the FBI’s relocation to Maryland include Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, Rep. Donna Edwards, D- Fort Washington, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III.
The two areas in Prince George’s County under consideration are Greenbelt and Landover.
“This is a competition,” said Cardin spokeswoman Sue Walitsky. “The GSA and FBI narrowed down the field to three sites and will base final decisions on the environmental and economic assessments.”
The goal of the relocation is to provide the FBI with a consolidated facility, bringing its 25 satellite centers throughout the capital region together into a single space of more than 2.1 million square feet. The GSA is looking for a site that can accommodate more than 11,000 FBI employees.
Placing the new headquarters in either Greenbelt or Landover would have widespread benefits, according to David Iannucci, the head economic and development advisor to Baker.
“The FBI coming to Prince George’s County would be an historic opportunity for this county that could fundamentally change the local economy, “ Iannucci said.
There are more than 75,000 federal workers who live in the county but only 25,000 federal government jobs, according to a state report.
With 43 percent of Washington area federal workers residing in the county, “having the FBI in Maryland could create an opportunity that would potentially take cars off the highways with both prospective sites Maryland lying within a two-mile radius of Metrorail stations,” Iannucci said.
The GSA is expected to make a final decision on the FBI’s new location later this year.