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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.