The FBI’s newest headquarters will be in Greenbelt, Md., after years of discussion over where to move the agency, if at all, from its downtown Washington, D.C., office, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Greenbelt, not far from the D.C. border, was the result of a years-long site selection process that featured three finalists, the alternatives being Landover, Md., and Springfield, Va.
The new headquarters will anchor a massive 61-acre multi-use development complex adjacent to the Greenbelt Metro station, which also plans to feature apartments, retail space and a hotel, according to the Post.
The agency has long complained of outgrowing the J. Edgar Hoover Building on Pennsylvania Avenue near the National Mall. It is unclear what will happen to the iconic brutalist structure once the agency established the new headquarters, a process which will take years.
Site selection has been a focus for DMV-area politicians, given the significant economic influx the headquarters is expected to bring. Maryland politicians claimed early this year that site requirements were “not fair,” citing a preference to be near the agency’s Quantico, Va., facility.
But the importance of Quantico proximity was lessened at the insistence of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Further in the process, additional weighting changes led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) favoring cost made Maryland a more attractive option.
Former President Trump had also been involved in the process, instructing the agency to stay downtown in 2018. Staying in D.C., however, would also include exporting FBI jobs out of the District and to new offices all over the country.
Democrats accused Trump of self-dealing, claiming that he didn’t want the J. Edgar Hoover site redeveloped into a hotel that could rival one he owned at the time, just a block away.
A Justice Department watchdog investigation in October found that Trump did want to keep the FBI downtown but didn’t improperly influence the agency’s decision-making.
Despite desire from some FBI leadership to stay in D.C., others have since cited the need to keep more employees under a single roof as a key reason the J. Edgar Hoover building would no longer suffice.
Other conservatives have also criticized the headquarters project, including then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this summer.
“This idea that we’re going to build a new big Pentagon and put all the FBI mainly in one place I don’t think is a good structure,” McCarthy said in July.
McCarthy said he prefers scattering the FBI across many locations.
“They’re asking for billions, and I just don’t think that’s the best use or the best structure,” he said.
The Greenbelt selection was made by a panel of three representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA) and the FBI, approved by the GSA and then the White House, the Post reported.