About 11,000 jobs are more likely to make their way to Prince George's County thanks to a House committee's project approval Wednesday that encourages the new FBI headquarters to be close to a Metro station, Prince George's County District 3 Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros said.
"That's a big deal for all of our sites in Prince George's County, but definitely Greenbelt, which is clearly at the Metro station," Glaros said.
The three locations being considered to house the 2.1 million-square-foot headquarters are Greenbelt — about 5 miles from the University of Maryland — Landover and Springfield, Virginia. Glaros noted the proposed site in Landover, also in Prince George's County, is just "a short shuttle ride away" from a Metro stop.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's new criteria to prioritize access to Metro stations will help influence the General Service Administration's final location decision, she said, which should be made in March. In addition to Metro priority, the committee also approved $834 million Wednesday to go toward the headquarters, and asked the GSA to consider the effects that traffic would bring after moving 11,000 employees from one location to another, according to a recent article in The Washington Post.
Greenbelt is the most attractive location for the College Park economy because of its close proximity, said College Park City-University Partnership executive director Eric Olson. And even with a significant number of FBI employees already living in the county, Glaros noted a Prince George's County location would help bring other amenities and contractors who would seek to service the location.
"Having 11,000 employees [in Greenbelt] everyday, many of whom would want housing in the area, who would want to eat lunch, who would want to buy things — that could have a tremendous positive effect on our local economy," Olson said.
He added that this university would help provide the FBI with "a pipeline" of prospective employees and researchers "that would be an incredible asset for the FBI, and also for the university." The Maryland Academy for Innovation in National Security, a collaboration between the university, the state and the FBI, is already scheduled to be built in Greenbelt, university and state officials announced in September.
"Students may be more interested in looking at things like cybersecurity and other innovative products in the IT sector … it ties in well with the innovation we're doing in College Park," Mayor Patrick Wojahn said.
In June, Gov. Larry Hogan proposed at least $220 million in state funds if the GSA decides to locate the FBI headquarters in Maryland. This likely makes the state a more competitive location because Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pledged $120 million for the Virginia site — $100 million less than Hogan pledged.
Additionally, Prince George's County has offered different amounts of funding depending on the headquarters' location. For Greenbelt, the county said it will fund a $97 million replacement parking garage, according to a June article in The Post. For Landover, the county will contribute $35 million toward a four-lane bridge and tunnel.
With a final decision only months away, Wojahn said he's feeling hopeful.
"I'm so optimistic that Greenbelt will be selected," Wojahn said. "I believe it's the best site of the three."