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Maryland’s Bid for New FBI HQ Site Could Gain Advantage from Significant Criteria Changes

According to the Maryland Matters report, the federal government released new criteria for a new FBI headquarters campus, with changes that are expected to benefit two potential Maryland locations over another option in Springfield, Virginia.

The criteria, released by the General Services Administration on Friday afternoon, would place greater emphasis on cost, as well as the federal government’s goals to locate agencies in sustainable locations that strengthen the vitality of communities and advance racial equity.

The new criteria also de-emphasize, by 10 points, the new site’s proximity to the bureau’s training academy in Quantico, Virginia.

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.

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