News & Politics

District Official Says GSA Requirements Make City “Ineligible” to Keep FBI

The FBI’s requirements for its new headquarters likely mean the bureau will not remain in DC when it moves.

Photograph by Flickr user OZinOH.

The FBI is probably going to go to the suburbs. The likelihood of the feds staying in town when they vacate Pennsylvania Avenue’s garish J. Edgar Hoover Building has all but evaporated with the District’s top economic official effectively pulling the city from contention.

The FBI’s preferred criteria for a new headquarters renders ineligible any sites the District might have proposed, Victor Hoskins, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, wrote in a letter last month to Dan Tangherlini, the head of the General Services Administration, the agency that manages federal real estate. Hoskins’s letter was first obtained by the Washington Post.

In a Request for Expressions of Interest published last month, the GSA wrote that the FBI is looking for a plot of about 50 acres on which to build a 2.1 million square foot headquarters, plus parking. The site also needs to be able to fit the bureau’s security needs without making “significant impacts on the quality of the human and natural environment.”

Those and other requirements appear to disqualify the District’s proposal for putting the FBI on a 40-acre plot at Poplar Point, a tract Southeast DC along the Anacostia River that is currently used by the National Park Service but has been eyed for redevelopment in the future. Even with Poplar Point seemingly out of the mix, the District is unlikely to suggest a different location for where the FBI might land.

Poplar Point is what we have,Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Mayor Vince Gray, told the Post.

UPDATE: Dan Cruz, a spokesman for the GSA, writes in an email that the agency still wants the District to compete for the FBI relocation.

The ad states that GSA anticipates approximately 50 acres would be needed to satisfy this project based on assumptions regarding building height, density, and security requirements,” Cruz writes. “However, the language regarding the acreage is not a minimum nor a maximum requirement; it is a general ballpark figure. Smaller sites that satisfy all minimum requirements of square footage, security, access to public transit, and access to the Capital Beltway will be considered.”

The GSA is taking submissions through December 17, and any landowner—public or private—can express interest.

Read Hoskins’s letter.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.