A District of Columbia site didn't make the shortlist for the FBI's new headquarters released Tuesday by the General Services Administration. But to the thrill of Maryland's congressional delegation, possible locations included the Greenbelt Metro Station and Landover Mall, both located in Prince George's County.
The GSA Franconia Warehouse Complex in Fairfax County, Va., is the third finalist.
Flexing a bicep in her pink jacket, Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski declared a victory equivalent to "winning the primary," during an afternoon press conference and said the state could host the "muscular" headquarters the agency needs. Fellow members of the Maryland delegation praised the senior senator for her efforts to put the state in the running for what is estimated to be a $2 billion economic development project.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., said it was good to have the chairwoman on "Team Maryland," while House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., called Mikulski a "planter." The latter comment led Mikulski to throw back a cock-eyed glance at the whip. Hoyer quickly clarified that she was more like an "acorn" that grows into a mighty oak. When Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., took the microphone she joked that Mikulski would play captain of the delegation's football team.
The Democrats complained that Prince George's has been shortchanged in terms of federal space in the region. Hoyer repeated that that county had been "left out, ignored, overlooked," and said it housed the least federal office buildings in the Washington region.
When pressed on whether she would twist arms to win the FBI headquarters, Mikulski clarified that she would not use the power of the purse or seniority to influence the deal. Team Maryland plans to trumpet the county's proximity to Washington, easy access to mass transit and other assets, "but we're not going to be bullies here," she said.
Members from Virginia — where congressional clout is set to plummet — also expressed confidence they would win the headquarters, home to 11,000 jobs. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, plus Reps. James P. Moran, Gerald E. Connolly, Rob Wittman and Frank R. Wolf released a joint statement expressing confidence in the Fairfax County location.
“The Springfield site is a cost effective selection that’s accessible by many different transportation options, and Northern Virginia is home to a majority of FBI personnel, the FBI’s major training facility at Quantico, and many key defense and intelligence agencies," the statement said. "This is not about what is best for Virginia or best for Maryland. It should be about what is best for the FBI and its mission. We believe that the Springfield site best offers the FBI what it needs.”
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., took the news that the city didn't make the final cut in stride.
“There had been prior indications that the District’s site would not be selected for the new FBI headquarters," she said in a statement. "Nevertheless, we take considerable comfort in knowing that at last the current FBI headquarters site is now ripe to bring new jobs and revenue to the District of Columbia."
Considering the 6.7 acres that will soon become available in the District at the current headquarters site, and the groundbreaking of the Trump Hotel at the Old Post Office building last week, Norton said the opportunity to redevelop the J. Edgar Hoover Building site is an occasion "for joyful anticipation and for getting to work on the further transformation of Pennsylvania Avenue.”