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Prince George's County endorses Greenbelt for new FBI headquarters

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Prince Georges County

Prince George's County finally has a horse in the race for the new FBI headquarters.

The county officially endorsed Greenbelt on Tuesday in its push to land the FBI, which is looking to move its much-maligned

headquarters from the J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C.

County Executive Rushern Baker and County Council Chairwoman Andrea Harrison sent a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration extolling the virtues of the location's transportation access and development opportunities.

"The Greenbelt Metro Station is one of the few locations in the National Capital Region that can meet all the real estate, logistical and security needs of a new FBI headquarters," it reads. "You can be confident that Prince George's County will provide an expedited, streamlined, review process and, with our federal, state, and private partners, a commitment to provide all necessary infrastructure to make FBI location here an indisputable success."

- Alan Blinder

D.C. to study money of moving FBI
The District's chief financial officer said Tuesday that his office will soon begin studying the fiscal consequences of the FBI moving its headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue.
During a breakfast meeting with Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council, Natwar Gandhi said his office would try to finish the review within two months.

The proposed location is just off the Capital Beltway and next to a MARC station as well as Metro's Green Line. Greenbelt is also home to one of Maryland's two federal courts.

The county is going up against Virginia and D.C. for the headquarters. The former has proposed seven sites, including a federally owned warehouse in Springfield, while the latter is pitching Poplar Point, a site on the Anacostia River currently used by the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police.

The new location must be within two miles of a Metro station, within 2.5 miles of the Beltway, and between 40 and 55 acres, according to U.S. Senate requirements. The FBI is looking to consolidate as it outgrows the Hoover Building, which would take 14 years and cost nearly $2 billion to renovate.

While Prince George's officials have long lobbied for the FBI as a way to bring nearly 12,000 jobs and boost development -- residents make up 25 percent of the federal workforce, but less than 5 percent of federal offices are within the county -- Greenbelt was always mentioned along with other Metro stations, including Suitland, Largo and Branch Avenue.

Recent events, though, seemed to point to Greenbelt. County officials pushed the Maryland Department of Transportation to grant the location Transit-Oriented Development status, allowing the state to provide Prince George's with tax credits and other funding to develop the site.

While top Baker

aide Aubrey Thagard acknowledged that the request was associated with the county's FBI bid, he added that the designation would help bring "additional office, residential and retail development that supports the new employees located there as well as serve the surrounding community."

The county's state and congressional delegations have not made a formal endorsement. A spokesman for Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Prince George's and Montgomery counties, said she supports Prince George's but won't comment on specific sites.

Maryland Del. Jolene Ivey, D-Prince George's, chairwoman of the county's House delegation, said the group has no official stance, adding, "The discussions we've had have been very positive and supportive of a Greenbelt location for the FBI."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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