J Edgar Hoover Building


Laurel King, Contributor

| updated

Copy Link Code

j edgar hoover buildingThe J. Edgar Hoover Building is an office building, located at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. The organization currently housed in the building is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), operating the building as its main headquarters.

The building was designed by the architecture firm of Charles F. Murphy and Associates, with planning in 1962, and site selection in January 1963. Design work was meant to avoid the blocky 'monolithic' structure of most federal buildings at the time, and lasted from 1963 to 1964 (although final approval for the design wasn't actually obtained until 1967). Construction lasted from March 1965 through September 1975, with inauguration on September 30, 1975. This building is comprised of 11 floors, consisting of more than 2.8 million square feet. The total cost of the project went from the originally-projected $60 million to a whopping $126.108 million, due to delays in obtaining congressional funding.

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI building was named after the first director of the FBI, John Edgar Hoover, after Congress enacted legislation to do so on October 14, 1972 (signed by President Richard Nixon). As both the first and longest-acting director for the bureau (due to the one-term, 10-year tenure restriction put into place following Hoover's controversial service), it makes logical sense to name the building after him. However, because Hoover's service as director is rife with controversy, accusations of abuse of power, and numerous near-misses of scandal, there is still great debate as to whether or not the building should be renamed.

In 2006, the GSA estimated costs to repair the Hoover Building would range from $850 million to $1.1 billion, around the same time structural problems began to appear, when a piece of the concrete facade loosened and fell to the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. To alleviate the danger of such deterioration, leaders hired a contractor to remove loose concrete from the exterior, and construction netting was hung on the highest floors, in hopes it would prevent more concrete from injuring those walking below. As of 2012, the J. Edgar Hoover building, Washington, D.C., is almost at the end of its usefulness, due to necessary maintenance being deferred, and the design being mediocre, at best. Although numerous agencies (including the FBI, General Accountability Office and General Services Administration) agree the building needs to be replaced, they also agree the cost to do so is so enormous, the project has led to inaction for many years. On December 3, 2012 the GSA announced its request for proposals to swap the building for a larger land parcel, outside the D.C. city area, asking for developers to offer undeveloped property and cash for the current building.

On January 17, 2013 an "industry day" allowed developers to informally submit ideas and show interest in the property; more than 350 people attending, making it the largest offering of its type. The estimates for a new structure include the need for at least 2.1 million square feet, with the ability to accommodate more than 11,000 employees, on approximately 40 to 55 acres of land. The GSA also announced plans to issue a formal request for proposals on the building and land, at the end of 2013.