By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor
The chance to develop the long-overdue new headquarters for the FBI, to replace its existing building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, may be a prize very much worth chasing. And now Related Cos. and Renard Development Co. have formed a partnership to do just that, at a site in Greenbelt, Md., the two companies announced Wednesday.
The partnership follows the July 29 announcement by a joint panel of the FBI and the General Services Administration of the three potential sites for the new FBI HQ: at Greenbelt Station and at the former Landover Mall, both in Prince George’s County, Md., and at a GSA warehouse complex in Fairfax County, Va.
(Landover Mall, completed in 1972, is located off of Maryland 202 and I-95 and I-495. After a period in which it lost multiple tenants, and several anchors, it closed in 2002. The mall was demolished in 2006, except for a Sears store that remained open till earlier this year.)
Although this is a long way from being official, there might be a double prize for whichever developer(s) win the nod for the new FBI HQ. The GSA reportedly is strongly leaning toward including an exchange for the existing FBI headquarters, the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building at 1000 Pennsylvania Ave., as part of the solicitation.
The existing headquarters, a Brutalist-style building completed in 1974, is supposedly functionally obsolescent and lacking in essential security features. It’s also said to be too small, forcing the FBI to lease other space in metro Washington to the tune of $168 million a year, according to National Public Radio.
“We believe the Pennsylvania Avenue site has considerable potential for higher and better use than as a headquarters of a federal agency. We hope to unlock that hidden value and apply it to the creation of a new facility,” Dorothy Robyn, then head of GSA’s Public Buildings Service, testified at a Congressional hearing in early 2013, according to NPR.
The proposed Greenbelt Station site for the new FBI HQ, including an extensive security buffer, consists of about 61.5 acres that is currently used as surface parking for the adjacent Greenbelt Metro and MARC stations, a Related spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.
The spokesperson also indicated that the new FBI building will be 2.1 million square feet and has an estimated budget of $1.2 billion.
The opportunity to redevelop 1000 Pennsylvania Ave. would be an ideal fit for Related’s “expertise in place-making, urban mixed-use developments,” the company said in a release.
“Related has an over 40 year track record of financing and delivering large-scale projects across all asset classes including the Time Warner Center, CityPlace and the ambitious 17 million square foot Hudson Yards project that is redefining 28 acres of Manhattan’s west side,” Kenneth A. Himmel, president and CEO of Related Urban, the mixed-use development division of Related Cos., said in the release.