After years of back-and-forth and speculation about where the new FBI headquarters will be located, the General Services Administration has confirmed a site in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been selected.
After years of back-and-forth and speculation about where the new FBI headquarters will be located, the General Services Administration has confirmed that a site in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been selected.
Maryland and Virginia both lobbied hard for the chance to be the new headquarters, and the selection of Greenbelt quickly sparked a series of angry reactions from Virginia officials.
The Washington Post first reported the news.
A General Services Administration spokesperson said in a statement that “GSA determined Greenbelt to be the best site because it was the lowest cost to taxpayers, provided the greatest transportation access to FBI employees and visitors, and gave the government the most certainty on project delivery schedule. It also provided the highest potential to advance sustainability and equity.”
“GSA looks forward to building the FBI a state-of-the-art headquarters campus in Greenbelt to advance their critical mission for years to come,” GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan said in a statement, calling the selection an “important milestone” following a multiyear effort.
Frustration from Virginia officials
Virginia officials expressed disappointment over the Maryland choice.
“We’re deeply disappointed that despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the Administration went a different direction,” Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a joint statement Wednesday night.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, whose district includes one of the potential sites in Fairfax County, echoed the Virginia senators’ criticism, saying that the GSA has “shamelessly caved to political pressure,” leading to the 11th-hour change by the agency of the criteria for site selection.
“We spent years appropriately criticizing the last Administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters — only for a new Administration to come in and allow politics to taint the selection process,” Warner and Kaine said.
In 2022, GSA indicated it had narrowed down its search to three possible sites — Greenbelt and Landover in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Later, the GSA, which acts as the federal government’s landlord, released a contentious scoring system that would be used to help make the final selection. The scoring system drew rowdy debate from lawmakers in Virginia and Maryland with accusations of an unfair process and political interference.
Officials in Virginia touted Springfield for its proximity to the FBI Academy in Quantico.
Sweet victory for Maryland officials
Maryland leaders said the locations in Landover and Greenbelt “could provide a bigger economic and employment impact than it would in Virginia” and would support the Biden-Harris administration’s “commitment to equity.”
Meanwhile, Maryland leaders, including senators, representatives, Gov. Wes Moore and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks called the announcement a “historic moment.”
“After a thorough deliberation process and consideration of stakeholder input, the GSA selected the Greenbelt site as the location for the new FBI headquarters,” the Maryland leaders said in a joint statement. “The GSA’s analysis of the facts and its consultations revealed that the Greenbelt site is the most fitting site of the three final candidates when all factors were considered together.”
The bureau has been in its location on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. since 1975, but talk about moving headquarters has been ongoing for at least a decade.
The move was largely put on hold during the administration of President Donald Trump, when FBI officials in 2019 recommended keeping the headquarters in D.C. across the street from the Justice Department.
When President Joe Biden took office, moving the FBI headquarters again picked up momentum.
WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report.