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Virginia, Maryland on shortlist for FBI headquarters

(Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is considering relocating its outdated Washington headquarters to one of three potential sites in Maryland and Virginia, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

The General Services Administration, which is responsible for federal government office space, said on Tuesday the finalists included locations in Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland, and one in Springfield, Virginia.

The current J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington "is an outdated facility that doesn't meet the FBI's needs in terms of space, functionality and modern amenities," GSA spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said.

The new consolidated facility will allow the agency to operate fully in one state-of-the-art campus, she said.

The hulking Hoover Building has housed the FBI headquarters since 1974. The building has nets rigged to catch falling stone from upper floors, and rainwater floods the basement.

The FBI headquarters staffers have nearly doubled in numbers, to about 17,300, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. They now are scattered across 40 sites around Washington.

The FBI has been searching for new headquarters since November 2013. All three potential sites were selected because of easy access to major highways and mass transportation.

The FBI and GSA have estimated a cost of about $1.2 billion to buy a site, then design and build a headquarters.

The GSA plans to conduct environmental impact reviews on each of the sites, according to a statement. It will also begin review building proposals from developers.

(Reporting by John Clarke)