The opportunity to establish 11,000 jobs by getting the FBI to relocate proved a significant rallying point for federal, state, county and local officials, who along with business and education leaders, announced they’re “all in” to bring the $2 billion project to Prince George’s County.
“There’s no question Prince George’s County is the best location for the FBI,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) of Baltimore during the “We’re All In” press conference Monday at the University of Maryland, College Park.
The FBI’s current headquarters, the 40-year-old J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., is decaying and no longer meets the needs of the agency, with many employees having to work at leased office space outside the building, said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) of Baltimore, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Governor Martin O’Malley said Prince George’s County and the region already play host to a number of federal agencies.
Virginia officials have pushed for a site in Springfield, Va.
Mikulski said 43 percent of the FBI’s employees live in Maryland; 33 percent live in Virginia.
“FBI, if you want your workforce to be happy, come to Maryland, because many of your workers already live here,” Mikulski said.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Maryland is ready to do whatever it takes to bring the FBI to Prince George’s County.
“When our federal government decides where they want to come into Prince George’s County, we are all in to make sure that it happens, with any road improvements that are needed, and also the potential for transit-oriented development,” O’Malley said.
U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Dist. 5) of Mechanicsville said relocating the FBI to Prince George’s County is also a matter of regional equity.
“Prince George’s County is home to only four percent of federal lease space, as opposed to 11 percent in Fairfax County,” Hoyer said. Springfield, Va. is located in Fairfax. “That’s not fair, and we believe that hopefully the federal government will conclude that they need to share the space around the Washington metropolitan area.”
Two Prince George’s sites have been put forward as potential FBI headquarters sites — an 80-acre parcel of land near the Greenbelt Metro and the 88-acre site of the former Landover Mall, owned by Rockville-based Lerner Enterprises.
County Executive Rushern Baker III (D) said he wore a green shirt to show his support for the Greenbelt site.
“We think the Greenbelt site offers us the greatest opportunity of bringing the FBI here,” Baker said. “It’s right near a Metro, we’ve already worked on getting funding for the infrastructure.”
Baker said the Greenbelt site would provide easy access to both the Metro and the Beltway.
Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan said Greenbelt has a lot to offer the FBI headquarters.
“There’s a wide array of very desirable housing throughout Greenbelt and College Park,” Jordan said. “We’ve got some of the best schools in the state, including [Eleanor] Roosevelt High School. We’ve got a low crime rate, recreational program. It’s all in Greenbelt.”
The GSA expects to identify all eligible sites this spring, and announce the chosen site sometime in 2015, according to GSA officials.