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Mayor Gray Wants FBI HQ to Move to Poplar Point

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2013 at 11:00 am 16 Comments


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From the Mayor’s office:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins, through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), officially submitted one site in the District of Columbia for the General Services Administration (GSA) to evaluate in its consideration of a new location for a consolidated Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters. The site is Poplar Point, located at Anacostia’s border at the nexus of Interstates 295 and 695, in walking distance to public transportation, and convenient to bikers traversing area bike paths.

“In Poplar Point, the District of Columbia offers a prime real-estate location that presents the GSA with an opportunity to recommit to the District – our nation’s capital,” said Mayor Gray. “Here, the federal government has the opportunity build a new facility tailored to the needs of the FBI on an accessible parcel with ample space to meet the federal agency’s square footage, parking, security and sustainability requirements.”

Poplar Point is one of the last great urban waterfront redevelopment opportunities on the East Coast and the only viable District site to meet the new FBI headquarters facility requirements. Bounded by South Capitol Street, I-295 and the 11th Street Bridge, the site is largely unused but contains some National Park Service and U.S. Park Police facilities. Yet, the 110-acre site is a signature District parcel that boasts attractive views, outstanding transportation infrastructure, and a host of nearby urban amenities with its location just minutes from downtown. Additionally, 70 acres at Poplar Point are reserved by the federal government to be maintained as parkland, leaving a total of 40 acres to construct a new FBI headquarters and a private, mixed-use waterfront development.

Continues after the jump

Locating a FBI headquarters in Anacostia would work toward fulfilling a larger District vision to invest in parts of the city east of the Anacostia River. Near the Poplar Point site, a series of public and private investments are currently at work enhancing the area’s economic and cultural opportunities. Major real-estate-development projects include the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths East and West Campuses; the rebuilding of the Barry Farm public housing site to create a new mixed-income neighborhood; the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridge with enhanced transit options; and a soon-to-be reconstructed and reconfigured South Capitol Street Bridge.

“Should the FBI vacate the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the federal government presents the District with a once-in-a-generation chance to redevelop a site once home to a major federal government headquarters located in the heart of downtown D.C. and at the center of the roadway connecting the White House and the U.S. Capitol,” said Deputy Mayor Victor L. Hoskins. “As we work to sustain an East of the River renaissance, we ask the GSA to continue partnering with us by building a new FBI headquarters at our spacious and secure Poplar Point location. The District is committed to mixed-use development at the site and showcased in our response an interest in the FBI headquarters locating to a portion of Poplar Point, further allowing the federal government to be a catalyst to adjacent private development.”

In early January, GSA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain responses from parties interested in providing a new headquarters facility for the FBI. In this proposal, GSA cited its willingness to exchange the J. Edgar Hoover Building (JEH) as part of this potential transaction. A redeveloped JEH site on Pennsylvania Avenue NW will allow the District to continue to knit together the downtown core – yielding significant benefits such as the generation of millions annually in property taxes; the potential reintroduction of D Street NW to improve circulation and restore a portion of the L’Enfant-designed street grid; the opportunity to activate the surrounding sidewalk and streetscape through ground-floor restaurants or retail; and the possibility to bring an additional public-serving civic construction downtown.

About Poplar Point

Poplar Point is envisioned to be a home for a variety of different uses including residential, retail, office, entertainment, cultural, park and open spaces. Presently, the site’s location affords easy access to historic Anacostia, the Capitol Riverfront, the Navy Yard, The Yards, the Marine Barracks and the Barracks Row district. This will collectively provide dozens of restaurants, convenience retail, a full-service grocery, a nursery, entertainment and other retail all within one mile of Poplar Point.

Options to reach the location abound, with easy access to Interstates 295, 395 and 695; Metro access via the Anacostia Metro Station, located under 3/4 of a mile away; four new Capital Bikeshare locations at the Congress Heights Metro, Good Hope Road and Minnesota Avenue SE, Alabama Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue SE and W Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE; and 20 miles of adjacent riverfront trails for cycling and running – with bicycle and pedestrian facilities that include bike lanes, shared lane marking, bike parking, and Priority Corridors for pedestrians.

In 2006, Congress enacted legislation (Public Law 109-396) directing the United States to transfer Poplar Point to the District. That transfer has not yet occurred. The District proposes that the footprint needed for the new FBI headquarters facility at Poplar Point would be leased to GSA until such time that ownership could revert fully to GSA.

For more details on Poplar Point, please see the correlating DMPED website project page.

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