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New step for FBI headquarters search knocks out several area counties

Monday - 11/18/2013, 2:55pm  ET

The General Services Administration has narrowed down the possible locations for a new FBI headquarters as it launches the next step in its regionwide search.

A soon-to-be advertised request for expressions of interest seeks Metro and Beltway accessible sites of roughly 50 acres — large enough to accommodate 2.1 million square feet of rentable and related space, plus parking, ancillary facilities and security set backs. Site bids will be accepted through Dec. 17.

The GSA RFEI sets an area that includes D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Northern Virginia as far as Prince William and Loudoun counties.

However, the GSA advertisement requires that the site be within two miles of a Metrorail station and 2.5 miles from a Beltway interchange (or inside the Beltway), which immediately removes Loudoun and Prince William counties from the conversation, as well as Westphalia in Prince George's. D.C., which offered just 10 acres at Poplar Point for the FBI, would seem to be out as well — which may not be such a bad thing, financially speaking.

The GSA warehouse in Springfield, backed by Fairfax County leaders, and Greenbelt in Prince George’s, backed by County Executive Rushern Baker, still appear to be the frontrunners.

The GSA launched its search in December 2012 with a request for information that envisioned a land swap, where the federal government would trade its valuable FBI HQ site at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW for a new headquarters building either in D.C. or the suburbs. The agency received 38 responses.

A short list of potential sites could be finalized as soon as the spring, with environmental studies and a development competition kicking off shortly thereafter. An award, if there is one, isn’t expected until summer of 2015.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.