Share

Greenbelt pushes for county, state support in fight for FBI HQ

|
Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly

Greenbelt wants the FBI headquarters, and the city is hoping Maryland officials can help deliver it.

City Council members unanimously approved a letter to House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker touting Greenbelt as an ideal landing site for the FBI, which is slated to leave

the much-maligned J. Edgar Hoover Building downtown

in the coming years.

The proposed location would be

next to the Greenbelt Metro and MARC stations and just off the Capital Beltway. Greenbelt is also home to one of Maryland's two federal courts.

"It's very walkable, close to mass transit," said Councilwoman Leta Mach. "People who are working at the FBI can walk from the station directly to the office."

The site meets the tentative requirements laid out by the Senate -- the new location must be within two miles of a Metro station, within 2.5 miles of the Beltway and at least 55 acres.

The city may be looking to get out ahead of other potential sites within the county. In a July 2012 interview with WTOP, Baker called Greenbelt the site with the most potential. He added, though, that Largo and Branch Avenue -- both of which have Metro stations -- were also under consideration.

"We have a number of quality sites across the county," said Aubrey Thagard, a top aide to Baker. "We look forward to a robust and competitive process that we believe Prince George's County will emerge victorious from."

Thagard said the county is not discussing specific sites and likely will settle on one to throw its support behind.

Prince George's is facing stiff competition for the FBI complex, though. Virginia officials revealed six potential sites in Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties earlier this month, and neighboring Montgomery County threw its hat into the ring last month.

While Prince George's residents make up 25 percent of the federal workforce, less than 5 percent of federal offices are within the county. Local officials are pitching bringing in the FBI as a way to bring jobs to the county, relieve congestion and spur economic development around transit stations.

"If we actually had more federal jobs and big employers around Prince George's County, it wouldn't be so much of a strain," said Greenbelt City Councilman Emmett Jordan. "This is the kind of thing the federal government really needs to get out in front of."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment