FBI HQ Decision Expected 'In The Coming Months' As GSA Picks Final Decision-Makers
The General Services Administration has taken the unusual step of laying out its decision-making process to select a new FBI headquarters site, promising a decision will arrive "in the coming months."
The federal government's procurement arm, which is responsible for real estate decisions, including the FBI's search, revealed that two GSA employees and one FBI employee will independently review the pitches made by the three finalists: Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia.
Following their reviews, a senior government official will make a final determination on the site. Their names were redacted from documents shared by the GSA on Friday.
"From the beginning, it has been our priority to identify a new headquarters solution that best meets the needs of the FBI and our workforce, and is a good deal for the taxpayers," FBI Assistant Director for the Finance and Facilities Division Nicholas Dimos said in a statement. "We appreciate the efforts of GSA to work in tandem with the FBI to craft a clear process to select the location for the FBI's suburban campus within the National Capital Region."
The selection criteria process will lend the most weight to locating the new HQ close to Quantico, the Department of Justice headquarters in D.C. and other FBI real estate assets, according to the document.
Other access issues, including walking distance to Metro, trains, airports and bus lines, were the second-most-important criteria. The GSA also said it would identify a new site for an FBI facility in downtown D.C., furthering plans to maintain a presence in the District. It didn't lay out a timeline for that process and included a disclaimer that it usually doesn't do it for any real estate decision.
"GSA site selection plans are deliberative in nature and are not routinely released prior to selecting a site," the disclaimer reads. "GSA is choosing to release the site selection plan in this instance for the sole purpose of facilitating transparency in the [FBI] Headquarters site selection."
Prince George's County, where both Maryland sites lie, has made the pitch that its two sites would represent a more equitable choice for the FBI, considering the majority-Black county has often been passed over for federal job centers.
In its decision-making framework, the GSA acknowledged it would weigh racial equity in its process following an executive order issued by President Joe Biden in 2021, listing it, along with sustainability, as the fourth priority behind the FBI's mission, transportation access, and site development flexibility and speed. The final and lowest-ranking factor in the decision is cost.