D.C. Mayor Pitches Anacostia Site for FBI Headquarters

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray submitted Poplar Point as a possible site. District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray submitted Poplar Point as a possible site. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

The city of Washington has officially submitted a possible location to the General Services Administration for the FBI’s new headquarters.

The local government offered a spot at Poplar Point, in the northern tip of the city’s Anacostia neighborhood in Southeast, according to a statement released Tuesday by Mayor Vincent Gray’s office. The statement described Poplar Point as “one of the last great urban waterfront redevelopment opportunities on the East Coast,” and said that the relocation would help increase economic development in the area. The full details, including maps of the location, are located in a document posted on the city government’s website.

The city government said Poplar Point would be an ideal location because of its extensive space and local amenities. Planners noted that a Metro station, highways and possible Capital Bikeshare spots in the vicinity would provide enough transportation infrastructure for the thousands employees who would eventually work there. The document also noted that a mixed-use development would surround the future headquarters with residential and shopping areas, providing an opportunity to continue the city’s urban revival.  

“In Poplar Point, the District of Columbia offers a prime real-estate location that presents the GSA with an opportunity to recommit to the District – our nation’s capital,” Gray wrote in a statement. “Here, the federal government has the opportunity build a new facility tailored to the needs of the FBI on an accessible parcel with ample space to meet the federal agency’s square footage, parking, security and sustainability requirements.”

The city said a 2006 law passed by Congress mandated a transfer of the ownership of Poplar Point from the federal government to the city, but the handoff had not yet occurred. Officials suggested the land could be leased by the city government to the GSA until a point at which full ownership would be reverted back to the federal government. 

In an email to Government Executive, GSA spokesman Dan Cruz said the agency was “focused on delivering the best value in real estate to our federal partners and the American people.” He said a request for information in January had yielded 35 responses as of Monday. 

“There is significant interest from the private sector to assist in developing a new, consolidated facility in the national capital region,” Cruz said.

In December, the GSA began making moves to consolidate the FBI’s headquarters, even considering the idea of a land-swap for the current headquarters in the Hoover Building in downtown Washington. The competition to land the new building is fierce and many officials, including members of Congress from Virginia and Maryland, have been lobbying to secure the headquarters.

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