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City to Ask GSA to Select Greenbelt as the Home of the Future FBI Headquarters

The FBI Headquarters in D.C.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is close to selecting the final location of the future FBI headquarters.

The Mayor and Council will consider sending a letter to the GSA expressing its strong support for locating a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) adjacent to the Greenbelt Metro Station.

The letter states many benefits of selecting the Greenbelt locations. The site is also accessible for agency staff and visitors via the metro system and I-495.

This is the only site option at a metro station; selecting it will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and less traffic congestion than other options.

The University of Maryland, with many programs, will be close to the FBI Headquarters if the Greenbelt location is selected.

Finally, the letter asks the GSA to consider prioritizing equity in making agency location decisions.

FBI Headquarters Search Back on the Table

This Tuesday, three MD senators and congressmen secured the inclusion of language to advance the process for a new, consolidated Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters in the Omnibus FY2022 funding package that the President signed into law.

Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer and Anthony Brown (all D-Md.) made the announcement.

Structural and security concerns of the FBI’s HQ at the J. Edgar Hoover Building have surged for two decades. A tour of the Hoover Building in 2015 revealed dated technology, an inefficient structure with cracked concrete, and makeshift workstations in storage.

Congress first addressed concerns related to the Hoover Building in 2011, approving a resolution authorizing the General Services Administration to begin site selection of a new HQ. The GSA announced eligible sites in 2014 and procured a shortlist of three locations in 2015, following Congress’ approval and funding. In preparation for the move, the FBI began consolidating various leased buildings into the Hoover Building. Greenbelt Metro was one of the three locations.

Last October, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-MD), chairman of the Senate Appropriations, released proposed legislation for the remaining nine Senate appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The bill-making appropriations for the Departments related to Commerce, Justice, and Science allocates $632 million for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) new headquarters (HQ).

After FBI Project Nixed, Area Leaders to Discuss Development Options at Greenbelt Metro Site

After the much-anticipated plan to move the FBI headquarters to Greenbelt is shelved, the area leaders have started discussing what can be done at the Greenbelt site. The Four cities Coalition, comprised of the Mayors and Council members from College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, and New Carrollton will be meeting tonight to discuss this topic at their quarterly meeting in Berwyn Heights. The meeting will be held at the Berwyn Heights Town Council meeting room at 7pm. Also, the Greenbelt City Council discussed potential options this week( agenda here . The video here).

The General Services Administration (GSA) decided to terminate the decade long process to replace the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building housing the FBI and to construct a new FBI Headquarters Complex due to a lack of funding. The GSA was looking into three sites as the new possible FBI headquarters – Greenbelt and Landover in Mayland, and Springfield in northern Virginia. In an hour long briefing, the GSA talked about the uncertainty over full Congressional funding for this $2.5 Billion project for the main reason for the project’s cancellation. Millions of dollars have been spent over five years by the three development teams, by the land owners, the State of Maryland, and Prince George’s County in pursuit of the now canceled federal solicitation.

This happened after the Congress repeatedly showing its support for the FBI headquarters consolidation by appropriating over $910 million so far, and by an expression of commitment to appropriate the remaining $880 million in the next federal budget. Unfortunately, the GSA made the decision to cancel without consulting with Congress, nor with the development teams.

It’s hard to tell what will happen now. Here is what the Washington Business Journal says

“what might happen to the Greenbelt site. We’ll have to watch and see what the developer (Renard) do now. There are questions about whether Renard can still execute on its option to develop the land for WMATA. It had planned to set aside about 61 acres for the federal government if Greenbelt was selected and develop about 1.6 million square feet of nearby commercial space. WMATA affirmed that the entire deal was contingent on Greenbelt’s selection.”

With FBI project canceled, SHA’s Greenbelt Metro Interchange project will also be shelved. As part of the plan, SHA was suggesting to add another ramp for the westbound traffic, merging into the existing ramp from the eastbound traffic. This could potentially add more noise and pollution to our single family houses next to Metro. They were also looking at adding two 12ft lanes on both sides of the beltway, from Rt 1 to Kenilworth Ave., to provide better access to Greenbelt Metro.

Council Approves Greenbelt North Core Development Detailed Site Plan

At last night’s City Council meeting, the Council approved a resolution supporting the Greenbelt FBI development plan.

This limited DSP is for roadway, trail infrastructure and a 3,645 space parking garage. The north core of Greenbelt Station is proposed for mixed-use development including the FBI Headquarters.

The development may have significant impacts on residents in north College Park. Conditions requested by the City focus on potential changes to stormwater drainage and the floodplain and reflected light and noise impacts that may impact residents in College Park. This application is on an Expedited Transit Oriented Development (ETOD) review schedule. A public hearing with the Planning Board is scheduled for April 27, 2017.

The conditions in the City’s letter include that prior to signature approval of the DSP the applicant:

1) provide a revised stormwater management (SWM) concept plan that covers proposed activity at the site,
2) coordinate with M-NCPPC, College Park, Greenbelt and WMATA to address design issues related to the Metro Parking Garage to reduce and minimize direct and reflected light and noise impacts on residential properties located in College Park
3) remove trail alignments shown through Outparcel B and State of Maryland land. Prior to the next DSP approval coordinate with staff from the County, M-NCPPC, Greenbelt and College Park to determine whether the benefits of the trails outweigh the environmental impacts
4) resolve and finalize treatment of the Narragansett and Lackawanna outfalls and the stream crossing of Greenbelt Station Parkway and submit required impact information, including a revised floodplain study and detailed design of the stream crossing
5) coordinate with WMATA, CSX, MTA-MARC to support the internal adjustments in the Greenbelt Station to facilitate pedestrian use of the underpass between College Park and the North Core property so that access will remain publicly accessible and traversable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

FBI Relocation Announcement Delayed

The GSA has announced this afternoon that the announcement about the potential location of the FBI headquarters has been postponed. The GSA earlier told that the decision could be announced by the end of the year.

According to the Washington Business Journal, postponing the decision is probably a bad news for the Prince George’s County and Maryland. The Maryland senator Barbara Mikulski is scheduled to leave the Senate by this year and the Virginia Senator may become country’s next vice president, depending on the election results. More on the news here on the Washington Business Journal.


FBI Relocation May Not Depend on Proximity Nearest Metro Location

According to this Washington Post article, General Services Administration (GSA), which is managing the search, is not considering Metro access a determining factor in deciding on a location. William Dowd, who oversees the FBI project for GSA, told the National Capital Planning Commission last week that his agency would not give greater consideration to a site close to a Metro station when determining where to put the FBI and what companies would build it.

The report also says the Greenbelt site — located on a Metro station parking lot, immediately next to the station — would rate equally as sites in Springfield, which is about a mile from Metro and Landover, which is two miles from a rail line.

The report also says, the GSA has begun planning to build thousands more parking spaces than originally envisioned, stoking concerns about the traffic that could result from the arrival of 11,000 FBI employees. Since beginning the process, the GSA increased the proposed number of spaces at two sites, Greenbelt and Springfield, reflecting new expectations from the agency that more FBI employees would drive to work than originally envisioned.

Public Hearing on FBI Development at Greenbelt Metro

Metro has announced that it is seeking your feedback on the proposed transit facilities at Greenbelt. The proposed changes to the transit facilities will only occur if the GSA selects Greenbelt as the location for the FBI Headquarters.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Prince George’s County are pursuing Transit-Oriented Joint Development opportunities at the Greenbelt Metrorail Station in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Renard Development Company, LLC is proposing to construct a mixed-use transit-oriented development on the western portion of the Greenbelt Metrorail Station property which will include a hotel, office, retail & residential space and a parking garage.

On the eastern portion of the property, plans include a campus for a major government services agency or large private employer. Presently, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has expressed interest in the joint development site as the new consolidated headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

There are a couple of ways you can provide feedback:

  • Take a survey and tell us how this proposal would affect you.
  • Provide your feedback to project staff at the Greenbelt Metrorail station on Monday, February 8, 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, February 9, 7-9 a.m., and Thursday, February 11, 5-7 p.m.*
  • Send an email and provide your written comments to
  • Attend a public hearing on Tuesday, February 23, 2016* at the Greenbelt Marriott, 6400 Ivy Lane, Greenbelt MD. An information session will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the public hearing will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Fed Approves $390 million for New FBI Headquarters

According to this Washington Post article, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) has secured $390 million for a new FBI headquarters as part of the spending agreement that was negotiated by Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Post writes:

The agency is in the first stages of relocating from the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building downtown to a new suburban campus.

The search for a new home began three years ago, and three potential sites have been chosen — two in Maryland and one in Virginia.

Mikulski and her fellow Maryland lawmakers have been pushing vociferously for their state to land the headquarters and the 11,000 workers it would hold. State officials have promised to invest millions in road improvements to bring the FBI to Greenbelt or Landover in Prince George’s County, rather than to Springfield, Va.

The money secured in the budget negotiations, however, would be available regardless of where the new headquarters is built.

Indian Creek and Proposed FBI Development at Greenbelt

I took a tour today to see the wooded area next to the Indian Creek stream, where the fence of the proposed FBI site at Greenbelt will be located. This area is currently owned by the State of Maryland and the public has full access to it. Here are some the pictures I took of the area.

According to GSA’s EIS (Environmental Impact Study) report, about 2 acres of this area will be impacted.

“Over the long term, the operation of a consolidated FBI HQ campus would result in permanent clearing of approximately 2 acres of existing vegetation adjacent to the currently paved portion of the site. The vegetation removed would mostly consist of grasses, shrubs and saplings; however, clearing of full-grown trees may be required depending on final design requirements.”

We’re working to see how we can suggest mitigating the impact.

Council Discusses GSA Report on FBI’s Possible Site at Greenbelt

At last night’s Council meting, the City Council discussed GSA’s Environmental Impact Study (EIS) about the Greenbelt site as the possible headquarter. The Council formed a working subcommittee to study the report further. Please see below the initial report staff prepared about EIS report.

The U. S. General Services Administration (GSA) released a DEIS and Notice of Public Hearings for the FBI Headquarters Consolidation. The three sites under consideration are located in Springfield (Franconia warehouse complex), Greenbelt (Metro Station area) and Landover (former Landover Mall) and public hearings have been scheduled in the vicinity of each site.

The Greenbelt site public hearing will be held on December 8, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:30p.m. at the Greenbelt Branch Library. Written public comments on the DEIS must be postmarked no later than January 6, 2016. The full report may be viewed at A preferred alternative is not identified in the DE IS but will be in the final EIS. The GSA is also engaged in a concurrent process of identifying potential development teams

The FBI Consolidation involves both the acquisition of a new permanent location for the FBI Headquarters and the exchange of the current FBI Headquarters located in the J. Edgar Hoover (JEH) building in Washington D.C. Conceptual site plans have been developed for each site with a security zone to comply with Level 5 security requirements. The building program calls for construction of a campus-like facility for 11 ,400 workers that includes the following components:

  • Main Building or a series of buildings 2,349,000 GSF
  • Visitor Center 60,000 GSF
  • Truck Inspection Facility 9.000 GSF
  • Utilities and Infrastructure up to 128,000 GSF
  • Parking Structures (1or more) 3,600-7,300 spaces
  • Visitor Parking Lot 135-323 spaces

During the scoping phase of the EIS process, the city provided comments to the GSA, The DEIS evaluates the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the project for each site alternative and the indirect impacts of the future development at JEH. It also evaluates a no-action alternative where the FBI does not relocate or consolidate operations. This alternative is a baseline for comparative purposes that look at the consequences of continuing to operate under current conditions versus the proposed project. The federal government is required to “restore and enhance the quality of the human environment and avoid or minimize any possible adverse effects of their actions on the quality of the human environment.” The report covers 38 different resource topics and indicates whether there will be no measurable impact, adverse impact, major adverse impact or beneficial impact.

This review will focus on the Greenbelt site alternative and the resource topics where significant or major adverse impacts were identified as well as where adverse impacts were found that require mitigation. A determination of significance under NEPA requires consideration of both the context and intensity of an impact. For the no-action alternative, the Greenbelt site assumes that the north core of Greenbelt Station will be built out based on previous approvals that enable up to 800 residences, 1.4 million GSF of retail, 1.86 million GSF of office space and two hotels with 550 rooms. The federal regulations do not allow for analysis of proposed improvements that have not been entitled under local land use laws therefore proposed mixed-use development by Renard to the west of the FBI site is not considered in the DEIS.

Visual Resources
Future development, whether it is from Greenbelt Station north core approvals or the proposed project, will result in densities and building heights significantly higher than existing surrounding development which is less than three stories. This would result in direct, long-term, major adverse impacts related to the aesthetics of the area. The DE IS assumes a maximum building height for the FBI main building of 17 stories (225 feet) that would alter the existing skyline. Tree line buffers are expected to lessen the view from the Hollywood neighborhood however a lighting study performed indicates that a long-term adverse effect from on-site lighting may be expected. A shadow analysis
performed shows impact on adjacent proposed mixed-use development to the west but no impact to Hollywood.

Comment: The approved Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Plan calls for building heights within 250 feet of the Metro Green Line to be 4-8 stories and for the rest of the north core to range from 4-12 stories. The plan also acknowledges that taller buildings may be appropriate or necessary to accommodate a GSA campus or signature building. The city is on record opposing building heights over 12 stories in the north core. Rather than a single 17 story building, the GSA should design more than one building and provide cut-off lighting to minimize this impact.

Public Transit
While no measurable impacts to Metrorail capacity were found, Metrobus operations are expected to experience indirect, long-term major adverse impacts under the no-action alternative and direct, long-term, major adverse impacts under the proposed project.

While no capacity issues were found on individual routes, bus operation delays are anticipated along Edmondson Road. During construction, lane closures and construction vehicles are also expected to cause short-term impacts. Comment: The half-mile study area excludes most city routes. Other buses serving the area such as The Bus and Shuttle UM were also excluded.

The traffic analysis in the DEIS relied on information obtained from the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) under the Greenbelt Site Transportation Agreement. This agreement established the study area, trip generation rates, trip distribution, modal split and analysis methods. Major indirect and long-term adverse impacts were found under the no-action alternative and direct, long-term major adverse impacts were found under the proposed project. In addition, there would be direct short-term adverse impacts during construction. For the no-action option, the corridor that would experience these impacts is Edmonston Road between Powder Mill Road and Cherrywood Lane in the pm peak hours. Intersections impacted are Edmonston Road and Sunnyside Avenue during the am peak hour and Cherrywood Lane and Ivy Lane during both peak hours. For the build condition, the FBI is forecasted to generate 1,025 inbound vehicle trips and 75 outbound trips during the am peak hour and 49 inbound and 966 outbound during the pm peak hour. An analysis of signalized intersections shows that Edmonston Road and Sunnyside Avenue and Edmonston Road and Powder Mill Road would operate with overall unacceptable conditions during the pm peak hour.

Comment:  Based on the site trip distribution showing the majority of traffic (78%) generated from 1-95/495 north and south of the site, the study area does not address local roadways or intersections in College Park. Traffic on the interstate network obviously impacts College Park and the DEIS relies on SHA to determine the solutions for the failing interstate ramps between Route 1 and Baltimore Washington Parkway. A fatal flaw in the traffic analysis may be the allocation of 47.33% of all new trips created to metro or commuter rail trips. This is a very high number that does not seem to be validated by experience especially at an end station.

Natural Gas
Washington Gas is the sole natural gas purveyor serving the region and there is currently no service on site. One of the closest mains is a 4-inch pipe on Lackawanna Street. For the proposed project, there would be direct, short-term, major adverse impacts due to the need to extend transmission pressure service to the site from an existing source. It is anticipated that this would require crossing 1-495. Comment: There is likely to be a long-term indirect benefit of increased service to current and future customers. College Park is not likely to be negatively impacted.

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