D.C. to pitch Poplar Point site for FBI headquarters

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Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer

The District plans to propose that the FBI relocate its headquarters to Poplar Point near the Anacostia River, hoping to spurn advances from neighboring counties attempting to lure the federal law enforcement agency from downtown D.C.

The FBI began formally considering moving from the J. Edgar Hoover Building, at 935 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, to a larger facility.

Poplar Point, currently used by the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police, is 110 acres -- but about 70 acres are designated for use as a park, according to the District's website.

The FBI hopes to find a 40-to-55 acre site to consolidate various offices into one central location. South Capitol Street, Interstate 295 and the 11th Street Bridge border the Poplar Point site in Southeast, and the Anacostia stop on the Green Line is nearby.

A D.C. government source Thursday confirmed Mayor Vincent Gray's plan to pitch Poplar Point to the FBI. But Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for the mayor, would only say the mayor's office would make an announcement "soon." The city has until March 4 to make a proposal to the FBI.

The bureau is considering locations throughout the Washington region. With the potential to bring 12,000 jobs and the agency's $8 billion annual budget along with it, suitors have begun to line up.

Fairfax and Prince George's counties have been early favorites.

Pitching a warehouse in Springfield already owned by the FBI, Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay wrote in a letter, [T]his can be fast tracked on the County side. Our Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is already on record with a unanimous endorsement of this site for the FBI."

Prince George's County plans to keep its plans under wraps for the near future.

"We don't really have a desire to put a whole lot of information out tonight or anytime in the future," said Aubrey Thagard, a top aide to Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker.

If the FBI leaves the Hoover building, it could be a potential boon for the District, allowing it to collect tax revenue on a space now used by the federal government.

"So long as the institution stays in D.C., though, opening up the J. Edgar Hoover site for development presents some interesting possibilities," wrote Max Farrow, a spokesman for the DC Chamber of Commerce.

Renovating the Hoover building could take 14 years and cost nearly $2 billion.

Examiner Staff Writer Alan Blinder contributed to this report.

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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