Revenue and Job Impact Analysis: The Relocation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters

June 2013 - The General Services Administration (GSA) is seeking to relocate the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Headquarters, currently on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, to a new campus facility in the greater capital region. The Request for Information issued by GSA returned 35 response proposals from landowners, developers, and local governments by the March 3, 2013 deadline.

The Academy formed a three-member Panel and was tasked by the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer to work with Bolan Smart Associates (BSA), a DC-based real estate consulting firm. The Academy, in collaboration with BSA, examined:

  • The net impact of the departure of the FBI from Washington, DC;
  • The District’s benefit of the redevelopment of the current Pennsylvania Avenue site for a new use; and
  • The impact of developing Poplar Point in Washington, DC as an alternative location for a new FBI Headquarters.

Key Findings and Recommendations

The District, according to the Academy's Panel chaired by Donald J. Borut, can expect a significant increase in total tax revenues resulting from the departure of the current FBI Headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue, assuming that it is replaced by a privately-owned redevelopment project.

There is a substantial yearly tax revenue benefit flowing to the District from replacing the current FBI Headquarters with a private-sector redevelopment–analysis estimates approximately $95 million per year. However, there will be a net overall loss of jobs if the FBI leaves the District. The District can realize both incrementally higher yearly tax revenue and employment gains from having Poplar Point, or another District property selected as the relocation site, particularly when the transaction is structured as a private lease. Should the FBI Headquarters be relocated to Poplar Point, the District is projected to accrue tax revenues totaling $144 million per year.