Housing Complex

If You Were Wondering: No FBI for Walter Reed

When the news broke in early December that the feds were actually going to move the Federal Bureau of Investigation out of its hideous and "functionally obsolete" Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters, a shockwave of excitement rippled through nearby jurisdictions. Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince Georges counties quickly invited the massive government agency to their eligible sites. The District held out hope, too, that the FBI might consider some of its big pieces of land in search of anchor tenants.

The most ready-to-go, obviously, is Walter Reed, whose 67.5 acres could technically accommodate the agency's 50-acre requirement. But General Services Administration staff I chatted with last week threw a whole bucket of cold water on that idea: They want it to be located on federally-owned land, and unless the District gives Walter Reed back to the feds, the site doesn't meet that criterion.

Of course, that's probably for the best for the development. As much as all those new employees would seem like a quick fix, gigantic, single-use, highly secure complexes don't do much for aspiring new communities like Walter Reed. So now it just needs something else.

  • D

    Too bad. It may be easy to lose sight of in this town, but such aspiring new communities also need close-in jobs to thrive. It makes no sense from an urbanist standpoint to push so many of them to the outer burbs.

  • Bob

    The Walter Reed campus would be a good fit for the FBI and since much of it is already fenced and secured, they would probably need less than the 50 acres estimate. It would be best if these jobs stay in the city. As for ownership, what the Congress giveth, Congress can take back.

  • Anony

    Awesome idea here.

    DC gives Walter Reed back to the Feds in exchange for the Feds building a streetcar from Silver Spring to Downtown along Georgia Ave.

  • Dino


    That is a great idea, and a great trade-off. Also, lest we forget that after the current FBI building is demolished, that is a huge piece of prime real-estate on Pennsylvania Avenue that can be put on the market and back on the tax rolls.

  • anon

    DC has a real opportunity with Walter Reed, fostering billions of dollars worth of private development and giving it back to the feds as untaxable real estate is not it.

    And lets be honest with ourselves. Of the thousands of FBI employees who work in DC, how many do you think actually live here? 5%, maybe 10%? The District should be happy to see them go.