Montgomery County pulls out of FBI headquarters race

By |
Photo - The FBI is searching for new space within the Capital Beltway and close to a Metro station as it outgrows its current location in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in the District. (Photo: Thinkstock)
The FBI is searching for new space within the Capital Beltway and close to a Metro station as it outgrows its current location in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in the District. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson,Montgomery County

Montgomery County is no longer considering itself a candidate for the FBI headquarters.

County spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the county never entered a formal bid, but after reviewing the requirements from the federal government on where the FBI could be located, it decided not to pursue a bid.

The FBI is looking to move out of its current headquarters in the J. Edgar Hoover Building along Pennsylvania Avenue in the District.

A Senate committee has stipulated that the site should be no more than two miles from a Metro station, 2.5 miles from the Capital Beltway and between 40 and 55 acres. The Hoover Building is falling apart and unable to support the total number of FBI personnel. The FBI wants to consolidate all of its 12,000 local employees and its operations under one roof.

"Because the land around our Metro stations is much more developed than in other places, we didn't really have anything that was sort of competitive on the project," Lacefield said.

The county instead will support Prince George's County's bid of the Greenbelt Metro station area.

David S. Iannucci, economic development adviser to Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, said Montgomery County officials have been encouraging and supportive of Prince George's County.

"At the end of the day, it's really critical that Prince George's County have the unified support our of congressional delegation and our neighbors in pursuing this," he said. "That will allow the entire delegation to go on board with this."

The FBI has received 35 proposals for the new headquarters ranging all over the region, though the list has not been released publicly. Virginia officials have proposed multiple sites, including a federally owned warehouse in Springfield, eight sites in Loudoun County, and a pair of sites from Stafford and Prince William counties. The District 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.

A House hearing on the consolidation is scheduled for Wednesday after a hearing last week was canceled due to weather. Lawmakers are expected to discuss ways to finance the relocation, including ways to trade the Hoover Building to cut costs. Members of Congress from Maryland and Virginia are also slated to speak about why their respective states would best suit the FBI.

Officials said they are expecting to start a more formal search for sites later this year but are waiting for the House to approve the relocation and guidelines for the new facility.

If the requirements change that would make one of Montgomery's properties a more viable option, Lacefield said the county might reconsider.

"Who wouldn't want to have the FBI?" he said.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County reporter
The Washington Examiner