The General Services Administration (GSA) hosted the first of four open houses at the public library in Greenbelt to discuss the future of the FBI headquarters. Residents were able to meet with GSA planners to learn more about the project.
Bill Dowd, GSA project executive, explained the process of selecting a future home for the FBI headquarters, as well as requirements that the potential location has to meet. “The site has to be at least 2.1 million square feet,” said Dowd, “The development will be home to 11,000 employees, therefore there are transportation requirements, such as Metro accessibility.”
The selection process will take at least a year, according to Dowd, who explained that GSA would continue seeking input from residents and transportation administrations of the potential communities, and the needed environmental research.
Greenbelt Mayor Emmett V. Jordan shared his belief that the FBI will find a new home in Greenbelt. Jordan expressed his excitement at the potential for the headquarters to attract new residents to the city. “The headquarters will attract 11,000 employees,” Jordan said. “People will come to live here and fall in love with our many recreational opportunities in what I think is a real community.”
Jordan emphasized that Greenbelt is an ideal location as it will be directly next to Metro and near other government agencies such as NASA and USDA. “It will be a win-win for the community,” said Judith Davis, mayor pro tem, a resident of Greenbelt since 1975.
Davis emphasized Greenbelt’s large park presence, “We have a 62 percent tree canopy thanks to Greenbelt Park,” said Davis, “Employees will fall in love with our beautiful community.”
Many residents of Greenbelt expressed their excitement about Greenbelt being home for a major government agency. “I am in favor of it,” said Jim Miers, a government contractor and Greenbelt resident. “We are a progressive city and we have room to grow.”
Miers recommends a mixed use development. “There is a lot of potential in Greenbelt and Prince George’s County as a whole, I feel like much of the area is underused. A mixed use development that incorporates the FBI into a shopping destination would be ideal for this area,” said Miers.
According to Dawud Abdur-Rahman, director of planning and management in the Office of Planning and Design Quality at GSA, the county is ready to compete with its neighbors. “By working to bring the FBI headquarters here, the county is letting people know that we are on equal footing in supporting a major federal development,” Abdur-Rahman said.
“This will bring employment for county residents,” Natalie Monkou said. “It will allow people to get a different perspective of the county. Many employees of the FBI live here in the county, this will allow for them to live, work, and play in the same space.”
GSA hosted a similar open house in Springfield, Va. and will host two more open houses, one at 421 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C. Oct. 1, and at 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover Md., at the Prince Georges County Sports and Learning Complex, Town Hall Oct. 2.