The FBI and the President of the United States (POTUS) are squaring off again for what appears to be another battle royale! No, this time it is not about Russian collusion, James Comey or the dozens of other political battles that rage between POTUS and the FBI. This battle is about the existence of the current FBI HQ in Washington, DC. Will it continue to stand or will it be relocated to the suburbs? That is the question that has lit a fire between the two opponents.
From 1908 until 1975, the FBI was located in the Department of Justice (DOJ) building in Washington, DC. This was an ideal arrangement, as the DOJ is a parent organization to the FBI and makes perfect logistical sense. Due to the growth of the FBI and the expanding role of the organization in the long term, a decision was made to house the FBI in a separate building away from the DOJ. This also met higher level security requirements for the safety and appearance of an independent investigative agency. A formal request for the project was approved in 1941, but was delayed due to the onset of WWII. The second request was made in 1962 for the new construction, which was approved. In October of 1967, the National Capital Planning Commission approved the project with 2,800,876 sq. feet of space for a planned 7,090 employees. The building had to meet height limits on one side of seven stories and 11 stories on the other, complying with the current DC code requirements. Construction started in December of 1967 and finished in May 1975. The building was officially named the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in May 1972 by President Nixon, two days after Hoover’s death. President Ford officially dedicated the building in September of 1975.
This historic building is now showing its age, and there is a movement afoot by POTUS to raze the structure. This is where the battle begins. POTUS has submitted a plan to destroy the building and construct a new facility on the existing grounds. He believes it to be the “ugliest of all ugly buildings” in DC and needs to go. The second plan submitted by Government Accounting Office (GAO) is to tear down the building and construct a new HQ building in the Virginia suburbs, where their current training academy is located. Detractors of POTUS say that he is trying to control what is built on the existing property when the FBI leaves. It just happens to be across the street from the Trump Hotel. They claim POTUS wants total control to prevent any competitor’s building near his property. The detractors of the GAO plan state that the Virginia move is significantly more expensive, and the fact that two Democratic Senators from Virginia are leading the effort makes it an immediate dead issue.
As the political battle rages between the FBI, POTUS, the GAO and Congress, the real focus is diminished. The real issue is that the current J. Edgar Hoover FBI HQ is a historical landmark. We should be debating a functional and respectful design that is befitting the status of all other landmarks of our nation’s capital.
From the Factory Floor
Fixture arrived safely in Utah!! Great collaboration with M. Elle Design and Forest Studio.
by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting