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Trump reportedly wants to keep the FBI HQ in D.C. and oversee its redevelopment

He refers to it as “one of the ugliest buildings in the city”

J. Edgar Hoover Building
Brian Kinney/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump has a pretty, shall we say, brutal opinion of the FBI’s headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’s one of the brutalist-type buildings, you know, brutalist architecture,” Trump apparently told an associate, according to an anonymously sourced report by Axios. “Honestly, I think it’s one of the ugliest buildings in the city.”

Just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House and the D.C. Trump Hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion, the aging J. Edgar Hoover Building has been slated for redevelopment for years. In a surprise move this February, the Trump administration recommended keeping the FBI’s headquarters at the downtown site after demolishing the current building, instead of relocating it to Maryland or Virginia as representatives from those states have pushed for.

Under the new plan, a 2.6 million-square-foot building would rise in the current building’s location by around 2025, for a price tag of $3.3 billion. But Congress has not yet funded the redevelopment project, and the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages federal real estate, has also floated other options, like preserving and renovating the existing Hoover Building.

As Axios reports, Trump appears to be keeping a close eye on the future of the site. “They need to stay there,” he is said to have told a second associate. “But it needs a total revamp.” A White House official told the website that Trump, who made his name as a developer in New York, has met with officials at the FBI and the GSA about the project.

Whatever POTUS’s architectural predilections are, the People have plenty of opinions about the current headquarters, too. “Trump and the DC Area Finally Agree on Something: Brutalism Is Bad,” Washingtonian declared in a headline on Monday. And yet, as CityLab’s Kriston Capps argued in 2014, “Not only could [the FBI Building] still potentially be put to good use, but whatever replaces the FBI Building will be regular, orderly, safe, and worse.”

Hoover Building

935 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, dc 20535