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Barbara Mikulski
(File photo)

P.G. sites competing with Virginia for FBI headquarters

The final three choices for the location of the new FBI headquarters were announced Tuesday, setting up a tug-of-war for the project between Maryland and Virginia.

A joint panel of the General Services Administration and the FBI announced the final three sites under consideration are in Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia.

The competition has evolved into a test of political clout, with Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Steny Hoyer leading Maryland’s bid while Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe aggressively pursues the project for his state.

The J. Edgar Hoover Building, a hulking Brutalist structure, began housing FBI workers in 1974 on prime Pennsylvania Avenue real estate between the Capitol and the White House. It is known by many Americans for its appearances in news broadcasts and movies. Millions have visited for tours, which are now discontinued.

But the FBI has long complained that the building — named for the agency’s first and longest-serving director — is obsolete, inefficient and no longer meets the needs of an organization that has grown dramatically in the last 40 years.

Those findings were confirmed by a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that agreed the building didn’t meet the agency’s long-term security needs. The FBI had been pushing to move thousands of employees spread among leased annexes in the region into a secure consolidated headquarters that would meet the needs of an agency focused on counterterrorism and intelligence

The new headquarters will mean 11,000 new jobs and will have an estimated $2 billion economic impact. A report from Maryland estimated that 40 percent of employees at the current FBI headquarters live in Maryland.

The old Landover Mall location, located near the intersection of Interstate 95 and Interstate 495 is one of the Maryland sites. The other would be on a portion of the Greenbelt Metro Station.

The lone Virginia site is at the GSA Franconia Warehouse Complex in near the intersection of I-95 and Franconia Road in Fairfax.

Mikulski, Sen. Ben Cardin, Hoyer, Rep. Donna F. Edwards and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker held a news conference announcing Landover and Greenbelt making the final three on Tuesday afternoon.

In 2013 Maryland’s entire congressional delegation signed a letter to the GSA and FBI advocating for Prince George’s County to be selected as the site of the new headquarters.

“We understand that competition for this facility will be fierce among the region’s jurisdictions, but we firmly believe that an honest analysis of the cost of operations, security, convenience of location for staff, transportation options, and the promotion of regional equity in federal facility distribution should make Maryland the choice location for the FBI,” the letter reads.

The next step of the process involves the GSA performing National Environmental Policy Act reviews of each of the three sites. During that review process the first phase of the two-part request for proposal process will begin seeking qualified developers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.