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GSA seeks ideas for new FBI HQ, Federal Triangle redevelopment

Dec. 3, 2012 - 03:50PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
GAO estimated in 2011 that renovating the existing FBI headquarters would cost $850 million to $1.1 billion and still would not fully meet the agency's security needs.
GAO estimated in 2011 that renovating the existing FBI headquarters would cost $850 million to $1.1 billion and still would not fully meet the agency’s security needs. (Blair Tomlinson / Staff)

The General Services Administration on Monday put out calls for ideas on how to get a new FBI headquarters and how to redevelop a large swath of federal office space in southwest Washington — all without spending any money.

GSA issued the request for information to exchange the 2.4 million-square-foot J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building for a new headquarters in the surrounding area.

“An exchange of the FBI headquarters not only saves money, but it also promotes efficiency by consolidating staff into a single state-of-the-art facility, shrinking the federal real estate footprint and eliminating multiple leases,” acting GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a news release.

GSA is asking that the new headquarters be LEED Gold certified — the second-highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

A 2005 law authorizes GSA to enter into special financing deals to exchange, trade, lease or otherwise negotiate for new construction or renovation projects.

The Government Accountability Office estimated in 2011 that a new FBI headquarters would cost $1.5 billion, while the cost to renovate the existing facility ranged from $850 million to $1.1 billion and still would not fully meet the agency’s security needs.

Former GSA public buildings commissioner Bob Peck told Federal Times in an interview that the parcel would bring between $400 million and $600 million — far short of what the agency would need.

GSA has struggled with congressional budget cuts in recent years, with funding for construction projects plummeting from $894 million in 2010 to $82 million in 2011 and to $50 million in 2012.

The agency is applying the same financing authority to redevelop the Federal Triangle area in southwest Washington — which includes the Energy Department headquarters and its annex, the Federal Aviation Administration buildings and GSA’s regional office building. GSA wants to upgrade the office buildings and add retail and restaurant space

The agency is asking developers for ideas on how to finance the redevelopment of these buildings to house the current 5,300 employees and an additional 9,394 employees now in other spaces throughout Washington. The RFI for Federal Triangle, for example, includes the second phase of the renovation of the GSA headquarters on 1800 F St. NW — a project it had abandoned because of budget cuts.

“With Federal Triangle South, we will contribute to a more sustainable neighborhood by creating opportunities for development, while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars by redeveloping outdated and underutilized properties,” Tangherlini said in the news release.

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