The FBI is looking for its new headquarters and Maryland officials are hoping it will be in their state. A recent resolution by Senator Ben Cardin D-Md. sets broad parameters for a potential location of the new headquarters. It reveals the state’s serious push to land the estimated $1.2 billion project, which would include a 2.1 million square-foot office complex in Prince George’s County and create nearly 12,000 jobs.
"I’m very bullish on this being located in Maryland," said Cardin. "Maryland is well-situated."
Prince George’s County officials are in the process of identifying properties that would meet the FBI’s requirements. On the federal level, Cardin said he has been working with the General Services Administration, which oversees federal buildings. Cardin said selection for the new site could begin as early as next year, but would not be completed until 2020.
Interest in the FBI facility isn’t limited to Maryland, however. Officials from Virginia and Washington also are likely to compete for the new headquarters. Loudon County, Virginia is a possibility, with state leaders “very interested in pursuing that opportunity," said Steve Hargan, an economic development official for Loudoun County though he said he believes the decision is "still a long way off."
If the new FBI headquarters moves to Maryland, it would join the Food and Drug Adminstration, based in Silver Spring, which has nearly 11,000 workers in the state, and the Social Security Administration that employs nearly 13,000.
The FBI’s current headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building needs $80.5 million in repairs and upgrades, according to a 2009 study. Another issue is that agency officials have said the FBI’s workforce is scattered over 22 annex buildings throughout the Washington region. That can present security challenges in dealing with sensitive information, according to a Nov. 8 Government Accountability Office audit.
The FBI estimates that a new headquarters could save it nearly $60 million annually that it spends on existing annexes. The FBI could also benefit from selling the development rights for those annexes. With those efforts combined, Cardin said he believes the project could be funded within the current budget.