Prince George's County wants state funding for Greenbelt in possible FBI push

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Prince Georges County

Prince George's County

wants the state's help in developing around the Greenbelt Metro station, a move the county says may help it

in the FBI relocation sweepstakes.

County officials are pushing the Maryland Department of Transportation to grant Greenbelt Transit Oriented Development status, meaning projects at the site could be given state funding, tax credits and prioritization for other state resources.

Four other sites in Prince George's already have Transit Oriented Development status from the state - the Branch Avenue, Naylor Road and New Carrollton Metro stations and the Laurel MARC station.

Aubrey Thagard, a top aide to Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, said the Greenbelt request is associated with the county's bid to woo the FBI, which is looking to move its headquarters from the much-maligned J. Edgar Hoover Building in D.C.

"A major project like this would be a public-private effort," Thagard said. "What it's meant to do is to open up a number of other public financing options that will help to pay for infrastructure and other improvements at the site."

He added, however, that the county has not settled on a site to support.

"Our first goal is obviously to have the FBI located here in Prince George's County," Thagard said. "We are looking at a number of locations. We want to ensure we're using any possible resource for any site that meets the criteria."

Per U.S. Senate requirements, the new location must be within two miles of a Metro station, within 2.5 miles of the Capital Beltway and between 40 and 55 acres.

The county is facing competition from seven locations in Virginia, including a federally owned warehouse in Springfield being pitched as an early favorite. The District is also in the running, with Mayor Vincent Gray planning to put forth Poplar Point, a site on Anacostia River currently used by the U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Park Police.

Greenbelt city council members pushed for their site in a January letter to Baker and House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The Metro board of directors's real estate committee helped the cause earlier this month by recommending that the nearly 80 acres of parking spaces it owns on the site be made available for potential FBI use -- the full board will vote on the action Thursday.

"The area around our Metro station is really well-suited," Greenbelt Councilman Emmett Jordan said. "They were looking for a certain amount of land, and I believe our station has that open space."

Baker called Greenbelt the site with the most potential in the county In a July 2012 interview with WTOP, though, he mentioned the areas around the Largo and Branch Avenue Metro stations as potential sites.

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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