Fairfax County officials are feeling good about the chances of the new FBI headquarters building being located in the county.
When the General Services Administration released its request for expressions of interest for the property last month, the criteria specify that the sites must be located within two miles of a Metro station and Interstate 495, accommodate 2.1 million square feet of office space and parking, and provide high-level security protection.
The county’s federal lobbying team believes that these criteria eliminate most of the dozens of sites previously under consideration, making the county-backed site in Springfield a top contender.
“I think we are absolutely perfectly positioned for this,” said Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee).
The site, near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and close to the interchange of Interstates 95, 495 and 395, is now home to warehouses owned by the GSA.
The other top contender is a property near the Greenbelt Metro Station in Maryland, which is the preferred site of leaders on the other side of the river.
The GSA may still be considering the former Exxon-Mobil campus as an option, McKay said, but that site is not located near transit. It would also take a large chunk of land off the county tax rolls.
McKay said he hopes the federal government learned its lesson from the base relocation process, when the warehouse site was passed over for redevelopment into office space in favor of a property off Seminary Road that is not accessible to transit.
“I think it presents a tremendous opportunity for the GSA to practice what they have been talking about,” he said, saying that the agency has been advocating transit use among the federal workforce.
With a major redevelopment project now under way at Springfield Mall, the area will redevelop with or without the FBI headquarters, McKay said, but he believes a warehouse site so close to transit is not the best use for the land.
“The warehouse that they have there now is actually preventing a transit-oriented development,” he said.
The GSA will be accepting proposals for the headquarters sites through Dec. 17 and expects to select a site by March.