WASHINGTON – Prince George’s County is one step closer to becoming the home of the new FBI headquarters after the General Services Administration announced two county locations are among the finalists Tuesday.
Maryland lawmakers gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to voice their approval for the GSA list of three finalists, which includes sites in Greenbelt and Landover.
“We want the FBI to have the facility they need to carry out their critical importance to this country, they need a modern, secured facility,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md). “The only location that supplies what the FBI needs is in Prince George’s County.”
This $2 million development project would be home to 11,000 jobs, according to Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s (D-Md.) office. Greenbelt Mayor Emmett Jordan said if the FBI comes to the city, the benefits would reach far beyond the building itself.
“The project would be a game-changer for the area surrounding Greenbelt,” Jordan said. “The positive impact would be huge on our local economy.”
“I think everybody’s hoping the FBI comes here and provides other opportunities for our other businesses,” said Greenbelt Councilman Rodney Roberts.
The site in Greenbelt is located near the Greenbelt Metro Station and the intersection of I-495 and exit 24. The Landover site is located near the intersection of I-495 and MD-202, a site known as the former Landover Mall. The third finalist on the GSA’s list is a site in Springfield, Va.
“This is like winning the primary (election). Now we’re suiting up to go to the general,” Mikulski. “We’ve gotten this far because we’ve all worked together in an open, fair competition.”
To meet the GSA’s criteria for housing the headquarters, the location must allow all staff to work in one place, meet the FBI’s security and functionality needs and be fair to taxpayers.
“Prince George’s County meets all of these criteria and exceeds them by offering close proximity to Washington, easy access to mass transit, world-class research and education institutions, cyber security and defense facilities and other assets valuable to the FBI’s ongoing missions,” the Maryland congressional delegation said in a joint statement.
Cardin said roughly 40 percent of the FBI’s employees at their current D.C. headquarters commute from their homes in Maryland.
County Executive Rushern Baker III said the development would improve the county’s partnership with the FBI.
“This morning, as I looked over our homicide rates, we’re down 41 percent over last year’s homicide rate,” Baker said. “A lot of that work had to do with the great partnership of the FBI. Wouldn’t it be great to have them have a shorter commute to the FBI facility?”
Mikulski said Prince George’s County has the fewest federal facilities of any of Washington’s surrounding counties and offers some of the best sites.
“We think this is about time,” Mikulski said. “For too long Prince George’s County has been redlined, sidelined, overlooked and undervalued. No more. Today, looking across the Potomac, you can see we offer the best site.”
The final three sites were narrowed down from a list of 12, and the GSA will now conduct environmental reviews on the three sites and hold opportunities for public comment.