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Competition for a new FBI headquarters heats up

Thursday - 1/10/2013, 3:32pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

ARLINGTON, Va. - The FBI headquarters, currently at the Hoover Building in Downtown D.C., will soon be history. The building's condition is deteriorating and security concerns are forcing the Justice Department to look for a new location.

The battle is on for a new site, which requires at least 55 acres, and suburbs in both Maryland and Virginia are making their pitch.

Northern Virginia's congressional delegation and the state's two U.S. senators say if the decision is made just on the location's merits and not on political criteria, then Virginia has the edge.

"You have to factor in employee morale, you have to factor in the amount of time, cost, expense as you think about FBI personnel getting to Quantico, getting to other ICE and DOD facilities in region," says Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

Warner was among those at a strategy session that included four congressmen, Virginia's two U.S. senators and leaders from Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Stafford counties.

Virginia already houses the FBI Academy and FBI Lab in Quantico and the Northern Virginia Resident Agency in Prince William County.

Maryland is also going after the FBI headquarters with both Prince George's and Montgomery counties expressing interest.

Key factors will be a site that has a large buffer area for security, and yet is close to both major highways and commuter rail.

Several sites have been mentioned including a warehouse site in Springfield, Fort Belvoir and a site near the FBI facility near Manassas.

A site in Greenbelt, Md., has also been mentioned. But others, so far unnamed, are also under consideration.

The FBI headquarters has 12,000 employees. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says many of those employees already live in Northern Virginia, another advantage for the state.

There is no timeline for the decision at present and even the guidelines for the eventual site are not complete.

Private developers will be asked to make bids for the new FBI headquarters.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)