The FBI would save $44 million in leasing costs annually by consolidating its offices at a new headquarters, according to a top agency official. (Blair Tomlinson / Staff)
The FBI would save $44 million in leasing costs annually by consolidating its offices at a new headquarters, according to a top agency official.
About 5,000 FBI employees work in 20 leased spaces across the Washington area, Kevin Perkins, associate deputy director at the FBI, told lawmakers at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Another 5,000 work at the headquarters building, which is old, inefficient and not able to meet basic requirements such as security, he said.
“The dispersal of employees has created significant challenges in facilitating organizational change, sharing information and in administrative functions,” Perkins said.
The General Services Administration has proposed exchanging the current FBI headquarters for a new 2.1 million-square-foot facility in the Washington area to avoid paying the cost of a new facility.
The agency said it issued a request for information in January asking for industry input and received 35 responses.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., chairman of the subcommittee that oversees public buildings, said the FBI project is one of the most important federal building projects this year.
“If we are successful, this has the potential for becoming the model of public-private partnerships in the future,” Barletta said at the hearing.
He said it would cost more than $1 billion to construct a new FBI facility and that Congress needs to work to limit the financial risk of any exchange or alternative financing deal.
Dorothy Robyn, public buildings commissioner at GSA, said the current FBI headquarters was built to house and transport large amounts of paper case files and documents — a feature that hinders renovations, movement and collaboration.
She described the response from the business community on the proposed exchange as “enthusiastic” and said GSA is reviewing the submissions to determine if it will move forward with a request for proposals.
Washington-area lawmakers at the hearing also used the time to preach the merits of locating a new FBI headquarters in their districts.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Prince George’s County has undeveloped land near Metro stations and access to affordable homes. He said 43 percent of FBI headquarters employees already live in Maryland.
Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said the Northern Virginia region already houses the FBI Academy and other intelligence agencies and a Virginia site would enhance collaboration.