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FBI HQ is Crumbling: Why is It So Hard to Build a New One

FBI's headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

FBI’s headquarters is called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

By Jonathan O’Connell
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Beneath the headquarters of America’s premier crime-fighting organization, one of the parking ramps has been condemned because corroded pieces of the ceiling were falling on cars.

Netting hangs on the Ninth Street facade to prevent broken concrete from hitting passersby 160 feet down on the sidewalk below. During a July fire drill, half of the building’s alarms didn’t go off.

For more than a decade, leaders at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have warned that the bureau needed to replace the J. Edgar Hoover Building, a concrete fortress designed as a symbol of strength that has instead come to serve as a lesson in government inaction.

“Where else in the city is there something like that? The answer is nowhere,” said Dan Tangherlini, a former administrator for the General Services Administration, which oversees federal real estate. “In the private sector you would never do this. You would just fix it up.”

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