Future of FBI building site on Pennsylvania Ave. grows clearer

WASHINGTON — There is now a clearer picture of what a building replacing the current FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest could look like.

The National Capital Planning Commission on Thursday approved draft guidelines for what can replace the current building, the commission said in a news release. The draft guidelines offer prospective developers a better idea of what they can build on the property.

The FBI will vacate the current building once its new headquarters facility is complete. The location for the new facility has not yet been determined. The General Services Administration is still looking for a partner to build a new FBI headquarters in exchange for the current site at Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.

The current building was designed in a Brutalist style and sits on two squares, a term used by the commission to identify and plan individual properties. The front square, Square 379, sits along Pennsylvania Avenue. The other square, Square 378, sits behind it, bound by 9th and 10th Streets to the east and west sides; E Street Northwest to the north; and what was D Street Northwest to the south.

The draft guidelines would allow a building on Square 379 to be as tall as 135 feet, with “step-backs” shaping the upper stories. That would give the building a shorter appearance at the street level.

A building on Square 378 could be up to 160 feet tall.

Those heights are similar to the neighboring buildings and generally the same height as the current FBI headquarters.

The plan also recommends restoring D Street Northwest between the two squares. It was taken out when the current building was constructed.

There is a 30-day public comment period through Nov. 10 for consideration before the plan is scheduled to be finalized at a Dec. 1 meeting.

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