The General Services Administration announced yesterday it is ending efforts to build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs of Washington.
Above: The deteriorating east facade of the J. Edgar Hoover Building, showing where concrete has fallen from the structure. Reinforcing steel rods inside the facade are now rusting. Image: Tim Evanson/Flickr.com
A GSA spokesperson cited a funding crunch for the decision to cancel the headquarters search. The Obama administration had sought $1.4 billion for the project this year, but congressional leaders only agreed to $523 million with a possible $315 million more from existing funds earmarked for other uses. GSA had demanded that the project, estimated to cost $2.5 billion, be fully funded by Congress before moving ahead.
The bureau has been attempting to move out of the old J. Edgar Hoover Building for more than 10 years. The Washington Post says the building has cracked concrete, makeshift work stations in former storage areas and badly dated building systems. FBI officials said the structure is so inefficient that it has begun to hinder the agency’s modern mission and are also increasingly concerned that the Hoover Building could be susceptible to attacks.
“Having a state-of-the-art facility that meets that mission is paramount,” Richard L. Haley II, FBI assistant director and chief financial officer, said in an interview in 2015. “Security concerns are important. And you just have to open up the public records to see where you know bad things can happen if you don’t have the right security precautions.”
The trickle-down impact on the counties who have been vying for the project is being called "deeply troubling' by representatives of Fairfax and Prince George Counties.
The plan carries political overtones that may have impacted the GSA's decision. Read the Washington Post's assessment of that part of the story here: