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Trump is reportedly ‘obsessed’ with redoing FBI HQ and treating it like a Trump Tower project

James Clarke

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The critically panned J. Edgar Hoover building, the FBI’s Washington DC headquarters.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP


President Donald Trump reportedly can’t stand the sight of the FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC, and has become obsessed with remodeling it.

“The building is terrible,” a source reported Trump as saying to the news website Axios . “It’s one of the brutalist-type buildings, you know, brutalist architecture.”

Brutalist architecture prominently features the exposed concrete in building structures. The style became popular among government buildings in the mid 20th century.

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the ugliest buildings in the city,” Trump reportedly said.

Urban planners were concerned that the highly secure building would be a “dead space” on heavily trafficked, historic Pennsylvania Avenue NW. An arcade, accessible by the public on the E Street NW side of the building, ran along the east, south, and west sides of the structure. It was intended that the public would be permitted to stroll along this arcade, view parades from it, and seek refuge from the elements there. The arcade was closed to the public almost as soon as the building opened. The offices fronting the arcade are not used for security reasons. The arcade has been disparaged by architectural critics as dark and forboding.
Tim Evanson via Flickr

Trump, a real estate mogul before entering politics, has long prided himself on successful remodeling projects that revitalized swaths of New York City during the 1970s and onward. Trump’s employees came to know him as a micromanager during that time.

According to Axios’ source, Trump wants to redo the FBI building with a similar level of detail, down to cost-per-square-foot, the materials used, and the renovation specifications. The source added that Trump was treating it like a Trump tower project.

But unlike the luxury hotels and retail spaces he’s used to building and rebuilding, the FBI’s headquarters have intense security requirements.

The Pennsylvania Avenue entrance of the J. Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Building is seen in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster

“POTUS has interest in the issue and has met with FBI officials, but more importantly the GSA [General Services Administration] team. GSA has concerns that the building can’t be rehabilitated particularly given the security requirements and has relayed that to him,” the White House told Axios of Trump’s plans to remodel.

In office, Trump has repeatedly attacked the FBI as dishonest and biased against him, and fired former FBI Director James Comey early in his presidency.

As of yet, Congress has not been asked to approve funding for the project, and the FBI has submitted no requests.

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