WASHINGTON — The fight to be the next home of the FBI Headquarters is heating up. President Joe Biden renewed the proposal to relocate the FBI from downtown D.C. to the suburbs of Maryland or Virginia, with three locations in the running: Landover, Greenbelt and Springfield.
But one Fairfax County leader is accusing Metro of taking sides.
“They should have gone out of their way to declare neutrality,” said Jeffery McKay, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
McKay slammed the WMATA board Thursday for what he describes as playing favorites. After a decade on hold, the General Services Administration is renewing its search for a new FBI headquarters, moving it from downtown D.C. to one of three sites: a GSA Franconia warehouse complex in Springfield; the old Landover mall; or a site in Greenbelt, 40 acres of which sit on Metro property.
“This was not a transparent process," McKay said. "Simply put, the Metro board decided today to favor one jurisdiction over the expense of the other two. And that's just not what we should be doing as a regional organization."
Chairman McKay sent a letter to the Metro board asking they not consider the Greenbelt Joint Development Approvals plan. The measure allows Metro to negotiate the sale of its property solely to the government.
GSA is still in the research phase but according to the proposal, if Greenbelt is selected the cost of redevelopment is likely to exceed $400 million, paid for by state and local funds. No Metro capital funds will be used according to the plan, but Metro does stand to gain in increased ridership.
“The action we took today is purely procedural,” said Metro Board Chairman Paul Smedberg.
Chairman Smedberg said the Board was responding to a request by GSA.
“It is not favoring one side over the other which I think is the underlying concern of Mr. McKay and it is not the case at all,” he said.
Prince George’s County Councilmember Todd Turner represents Greenbelt and was involved in the original deal.
“The process was moving fairly along and was stopped by the previous administration," Turner said. "And as a result of that, the existing joint development agreement with the developer expired."
Turner said either location in Prince George’s County will be good for the next FBI headquarters.
“However, as the representative of Greenbelt Metro, I know, a long time of work has been done in order to get that ready for a potential large client like the FBI,” he said.
“We owe it to the GSA to let them complete their process in an unbiased way," McKay said. "Let the best site win."