Baker Says Greenbelt Has Most Potential For FBI Headquarters

The bureau's potential move is shaping up as a battle between Maryland and Virginia, according to the county executive.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker told WTOP recently that Greenbelt has the most potential in the county for a new FBI headquarters, saying "we're pushing very hard."

But Baker is not alone in the bid for the federal institution: he told the station it's coming down to a battle across the Beltway between Maryland and Virginia.

Loudoun County officials are salivating at the prospect of wooing a $1.2 billion complex and nearly 12,000 jobs its way, according to the Washington Post. And some Fairfax County officials have urged the FBI to take up shop in a General Services Administration-owned building next to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.

Facing a long-derided structure that no longer meets its needs, the FBI is considering other options, including relocation. But the idea of having the institution  of the Beltsville Agricultureal Research Center had some Greenbelt residents and officials .

If BARC was out of the picture, would citizens welcome the FBI to Greenbelt proper? 

In May, Greenbelt Councilmember Rodney Roberts expressed strong opposition to the FBI taking up a BARC location. But he was not ruffled by the idea of having its headquarters in town.

"I would love to have [the FBI] on the South Core of the Metro stop," Roberts told Patch, referring to the jobs the move would bring.

What do you think about the prospect of the FBI moving its headquarters to Greenbelt? Tell us in the comments.

Dick Harbin July 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM
This strikes me as another no-brainer that somehow ends-up being debated. This county is broke. This county needs jobs. This county needs revenue. This county's real estate market needs buyers, particularly on the high-end of its' market. This county needs to attract major entities like this, as the foundation to lure other large organizations away from Loudoun, Fairfax and Montgomery. This county, and Greenelt in particular, needs this oppotunity in the worst way, if it's ever going to rise above its' present stature.
Ed James July 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Move jobs closer to homes and reduce the need to commute. Yet another no-brainer. We already have a good supply of housing, but Greenbelt would probably make more revenue from new housing than from a Federal site. So the cycle continues and gets worse - more housing than jobs? That's not "Smart Growth" in my book.
Donald James July 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The County and City of Greenbelt need to all come together to support this. As a Greenbelt resident, I'm all for this move. We all need to stay engaged and make sure it's the best project available. The best place would be as close to the metro station as possible.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
FBI headquarters in Greenbelt would be so good for the NE beltway region. Talk about bragging rights. Competing with Virginia is no easy task though. They'll offer so many incentives, I really can't imagine PG winning the fight. As someone who used to work in Fairfax, I can honestly say that the traffic over there is a nightmare. The greenbelt site can definitely handle the strain on infrastructure that this size of development will incur. I could see Konterra's new town center complimenting the FBI headquarters quite nicely.
Danny July 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM
i think that's the cue for the CP city council and self-selected residents of university park to express their disapproval of the potential development.
tcmitssr July 17, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The Greenbelt City Council should immediately and unanimously ENDORSE this as strongly as it can! It really is not important where it is located on what is, otherwise, "open" land. This is: more quallity jobs, better positive housing growth and sales, a greater sense of community security and so much more for the 21st Century that Greenbelt needs! If the City Council shuffles its feet, debates placement, etc. County Executive Baker and the County Council should take the matter out of Greenbelt's hands in terms of influence and place it in Greenbelt in whatever location it thinks best. I fear our Council will debate this to death and lose a vital "game-changing" investment in the complete and successful future of our city. Now is NOT the time for the typical Greenbelt hand-wringing over "where" something goes because of some trees or green spaces being eliminated. This is the best thing that could happen for our city and its shrinking tax base in well over half a century, if not longer.
Donald James July 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
If the FBI sticks to their requirements for the site...Konterra would be out of the picture because it's not close enough to a metro stop. I think we have a good chance of winning this if it comes down to it. We have the available land in order to meet the stringent security requirements, and we have the transportation infrastructure
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 17, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Donald, don't you think residents of Laurel and Greenbelt often drive between the two cities? The drive down 95 from the proposed Konterra town center and Greenbelt metro station is pretty easy, and a bunch of brand new single family homes in a high end development seems like it would be attractive to FBI employees looking to relocate near the new headquarters. Danny, you are hilarious. Maybe they haven't caught wind of it yet. I do have a conspiracy theory about what truly motivates them. I was reading an article a while back about NIMBYism and was made aware of a type of sabotage where local residents are paid to protest and organize against development in order to benefit third parties. There are actually companies that specialize in this and their tactics are more complicated than I can recall. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if MoCo or NoVa have employed such tactics against PG.
Donald James July 17, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Residents of Greenbelt and Laurel drive between cities sure. I do it all the time. But the majority of the 12,000 workers, aren't and most likely won't be residents of Greenbelt and Laurel. So either these people will have to drive or take a bus between the two...which would defeat the purpose of located the FBI in a transit oriented location. One of the requirements set forth was for any potential site to be located within 2-miles of a metro station, which Konterra is not. Konterra is automobile centric and will do nothing to spur revitilization around our metro stations.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 17, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I tend to think of development as having a synergistic affect. What I was saying was that people working at the FBI headquarters in Greenbelt could potentially find themselves living in brand new homes in Konterra. My point being that adding 12,000 jobs to the region would help support local housing development projects. While being close to the metro is important, it is well know that many employees will still choose to drive.
Danny July 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
@HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter -- i have to disagree that the opponents are paid to do so, because their arguments are so inane ("some people in the area can't afford to shop at whole foods!" or "whole foods is going to destroy my property values!" or "EYA is an eyesore!") and their grasp of the english language so weak (you KNOW who i'm thinking of here...) that they'd have been fired from their astroturfing "jobs" long ago.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 17, 2012 at 09:07 PM
In any case, they don't seem to be lurking on this thread. They're probably meeting in secret trying to organize a counter strike and hit us by surprise. Perhaps a District Counsel meeting conveniently scheduled during working hours so that real people can't attend. On the other hand, they might be tending to their nest of alien spawn currently incubating in the nearby forest. Or maybe moving their sacrificial Satan worshiping shrine to a safer location.
Jay Friedman July 17, 2012 at 09:46 PM
We could not get agreement to clean up Springhill Lake, Which the AIMCO project would have done. How are we going to get agreement on new FBI project. Also, with so many millions of available square feet coming onto the market in the Metro area, why would the government deal with the politics of putting anything significant in Greenbelt. LONG LIVE NIMBY/Greenbelt.!
Greenbelter July 17, 2012 at 10:14 PM
With the Federal Court House next door, it should be a no brainer for the FBI. I agree that the Greenbelt City Council needs to jump at this opportunity and do everything it can to make it happen. If they don't, it just shows that they do not act in the best interest of the City. Greenbelt will die if they continue trying to keep it in the 1960's. If they oppose it, they need to be replaced!
John Krouse July 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Relocating the FBI to Greenbelt Metro sounds good... but is it better than having a regional mall, or other major employment center at the Metro station? The security requirements of the FBI will essentially make Greenbelt Station a single use campus, with only one user- the FBI. And it will be a potential terrorist target, right next to hundreds of nearby residences. I don't know where the site selection criteria for the FBI came from, but it seems like the FBI should have its own space, in a secured area, and operate shuttles to public transit, rather than trying to squeeze into a spot that might not be best for them or anyone else nearby. How will all those FBI employees get to work? And what will happen if Metro service to Greenbelt Station is disrupted... will the FBI be shut down because Metro is shut down? These are very important things to consider, too.
Danny July 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM
there already is a regional mall at the Metro station. it's called beltway plaza.
Jay Friedman July 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM
There have been only a few regional malls built in the United States over the past several years. The retail developers are moving away from very large(1m plus sq feet) and going with mixed use development with smaller stores. Laurel Mall is an example. Also, if you recall, Simon Properties originally proposed an enclosed regional mall for Bowie, and ended up with a open town center concept. The Springfield Mall is gutting the enclosed parts and will leave only Macys, Target and Penny's standing. It will then fill in with one story stores and eateries. In addition, Landmark Mall is facing the same fate. In Marylalnd, Bowie Town Center is losing stores to the new retail cluster up the road on 30l in Crofton where the new Wegman,s is going.
Jay Friedman July 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
RE:A SEPARATE SECURE LOCATION. iT was called the unused land at the Beltsville USDA Center. The Secret Service is already in there with the national training center. Those famous NIMBY folks have already voiced disapproval of any plan to use the excess Ag land in such a way, because it was not at the Metro.
Donald James July 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The Pentagon shows that a large government entity can be located at a metro station and still have the security requirements met. But I do agree that it will be a single use campus because it will take up most of the government land. But you don't take an agency with thousands of employees currently located in a metro accessible place and give them less options. Shuttles to the metro would be a bad idea. There are many people who work at the FBI who rely on public transportation.
Jay Friedman July 18, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Mr. James, you are correct, it must be metro accessible, there for Greenbelt Metro is the best location. THe Beltsville ag farm land was suggested by people trying to head off the hassles of dealing the the NIMBYs in Greenbelt. It will be a confrontation, but Metro is the only site.
Jay Friedman July 18, 2012 at 02:57 PM
HEY FOLKS!. by the way, there are no agreements in place with GSA to actually build a new FBI headquarters. Yes, a new building is needed. However, with the current budget stalemate, and no cost projections out, we are not looking at getting this done anytime in the next many years. Mr. Baker is to be commended for doing his job to promote the County. But I suspect it will be 2--3 years before the dirt flies on the new site!
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 18, 2012 at 03:38 PM
That is unfortunately the situation with all potential developments, which is why it is important for the local leaders to facilitate the process as quickly and easily as possible. The less red tape, the faster we can see positive change in our community. I'd already have a gazebo and fenced in garden on my property if it didn't require a permit.
HyattsvilleCouldBeBetter July 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
John Krouse, you bring up valid concerns but if there were 12000 people suddenly working in a secure facility next to the Greenbelt station, it seems like they would most likely delegate at least a portion of the site to restaurants. At lunch time there would definitely be spill over into the local restaurants as well, which could help fund the revitalization of existing shopping centers. If I was working at that location and had a car, I would take the freeway, 1 exit to the IKEA shopping center. As far as terrorist risks, one could argue that DC is still a greater target. If for instance, the terrorist had a nuclear bomb, they'd probably detonate it at the mall. Any smaller attacks aimed specifically at the FBI would most likely not reach the local community unless a terrorist were to bomb a local restaurant filled with FBI agents. ugh. If I recall correctly, some of the terrorists involved in 9-11 were living in Laurel right under the nose of the NSA, but their target was NYC and the Pentagon. Ultimately, there weren't any local civilian casualties in the pentagon attack.
OverlyOptimistic August 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Don't expect the move to bring federal jobs. Most people who work at the FBI are not from D.C., Maryland, or Virginia--they relocated from other states. And federal employees are used to long commutes so don't expect them to pick up and move to Greenbelt either, especially if they have a spouse that does not work nearby. If the employees already live in Howard, Montgomery, and Fairfax County--they are most likely going to commute. This project is at least eight years away.
Workerbee February 20, 2013 at 08:23 PM
OverlyOptimistic and John Crouse have good points. Why are you moving a federal building into an highly populated crime area? Its not going to change anything, the only thing it will do will put the employees at risk. Virginia is a much better option, and plus alot of the federal employees who work at the FBI DO NOT reside in Maryland, they reside in VA and Pennsylvania, as well as Philly. Everyday on the news is some shooting or attack in Prince George County.


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