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I spy with my little eye 30+ developers scrambling for new FBI HQ

Maryland's Prince George's County is the perfect location for the new Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, according to U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer and Donna Edwards. Hoyer and Edwards, of course, represent districts that include parts of Prince George's County. If you ask Reps. Frank Wolf, Gerry Connolly, and Jim Moran, though, Prince William County or even Loudoun County, both in Northern Virginia where their constituents live, would be a better choice.

For the record, representatives from other states chimed in, as well, at a recent congressional hearing about the relocation of the FBI's headquarters from its current antiquated Washington site. These arguments are just part of the process, of course, because, while lawmakers are touting their districts as the FBI's next home, the General Services Administration is plowing through more than three dozen responses to its request for proposals from developers who are also anxious to land the deal.

The J. Edgar Hoover Building is only 38-years-old, but it is in dire need of repair. Four years ago, a study concluded that necessary upgrades would cost taxpayers upwards of $80.5 million. The building is also not big enough to house all of the agency's employees: FBI staffers occupy nearly two dozen satellite sites as well.

Almost half of the FBI's workforce already lives in Maryland, according to testimony at the hearing this week. The state has 45 to 50 acres of land available for the new 2.1 million-square-foot campus, and Prince George's County is served by 15 Metro stations, more than any other county in the Washington region. Add to that the county's proximity to downtown Washington, the Beltway and area airports, and the decision should be a no-brainer.

The question of public transit access is a sticky one for the Northern Virginia contingent. A GSA memo turned up recently that apparently raised questions about the requirement and its effect on competition.

The proposed move was approved in 2011, before the fiscal cliff and the sequester. With budget woes plaguing the federal government, it is unclear how soon -- or if -- the project will get underway.

Sources:

Baltimore Sun, "Developers express interest in FBI headquarters," John Fritze, March 6, 2013

Washington City Paper, "Maryland and Virginia Congressmen Play Tug of War Over FBI HQ," Aaron Wiener, March 13, 2013

Our firm helps clients with commercial real estate deals like the one discussed in this post. Please go to the real estate page of our website for more information about our Annapolis, Maryland, practice.

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