Government Cancels Long Search For New FBI Headquarters
The federal government is canceling its decade-long search for new FBI headquarters due to congressional budget cuts for the project.
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced Tuesday that it will stop searching for a private “exchange partner” to build the FBI’s new headquarters and take over the J. Edgar Hoover building, the FBI’s current location, in return as part of unique building swap program designed to save taxpayer money.
“The cancellation of the project does not lessen the need for a new FBI headquarters,” a spokeswoman for the GSA told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The “full funding is crucial for the government to make a contract award” for the project, the spokeswoman said. Congressional budget appropriators did not fully fund GSA’s plan for the new headquarters.
Last year’s budget request from former President Barack Obama included $1.4 billion for this project, but that bill did not become law. Congress instead gave the project $523 million, which “leaves an $882 million funding gap,” the GSA said.
“Moving forward without full funding puts the government at risk for cost escalations and the potential reduction in value of the J. Edgar Hoover property that developers were to receive as part of this procurement,” the GSA said.
The FBI’s current headquarters is outdated, has cracks in the concrete and is over-capacity, the Washington Post, which first broke news of the canceled project, reports.
The longer the J. Edgar Hoover building remains in its current condition, the more its value decreases, limiting its appeal as a bargaining chip for the federal government. The GSA has pushed the Hoover building as a perfect situation for the building swap strategy, something that the service has completed twice since 2000.
The GSA already put the project on hold in early May, pending President Donald Trump’s budget that stripped funding for the FBI building swap.
The Maryland congressional delegation was particularly disappointed that the project was postponed, as Prince George’s County in southern Maryland was one of the finalists for the FBI’s new location.
“We recognize the urgent need to select a site, and we are concerned that the continued delays will have a negative impact on the safety and security of our nation,” the Maryland delegation said in a statement. “Prince George’s County is the best choice for the FBI, and we call on Congress to fully fund the FBI relocation project which is not only important for the economic development of Prince George’s County, but for the state of Maryland and our nation as a whole.”
The GSA did not provide further information on how much the FBI headquarters search has cost so far.
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