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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 29, 2008


Contact: Robert J. Browning / Kathryn Mattingly

(202) 648-8500

ATF Dedicates Its New National Headquarters

Award-Winning Design Incorporates Latest Federal Security Standards

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) today dedicated its new national headquarters building.

The new building, located at 99 New York Ave., N.E., serves as an anchor for the redevelopment of a historic northeast Washington neighborhood, and will house most headquarters employees and the eight directorates that support ATF’s 25 field divisions throughout the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, Canada, Colombia and Mexico.

Launched by the June 1995 presidential directive to upgrade federal facilities after the Oklahoma City bombing, ATF’s new headquarters was conceived, designed and constructed under the new federal security standards established by the Interagency Security Committee (ISC). It is the first federal headquarters building since Oklahoma City to incorporate all elements of the ISC design criteria.

This state-of-the-art building and space will inspire the men and women of ATF as they carry out their mission to reduce violent crime and protect the nation, said Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan. This extraordinary structure embodies and reflects our values of loyalty, of protection, of perseverance and of the partnerships we share with the public we serve.

It is a clearly recognizable image of the federal government’s commitment to both security and openness, and an invitation to all Americans to engage in the work we encounter every day. Finally, there is a place and an image that establishes in the minds of the public the important role ATF plays in their lives. Our mission is to fulfill that role each and every day.

The design of the building not only meets a high level of protection, it exemplifies the General Services Administration’s (GSA) and the National Capital Planning Commission’s dedication to openness and security using architectural elegance and ingenuity.

The headquarters is more than 400,000 square feet and allows for the maximum amount of natural light through the use of atriums and gardens. A circular granite memorial bearing the names of the 118 special agents who were killed in hostile action is housed near the entrance.

The design also engages the perimeter street edge with retail shops and incorporates a generous amount of landscaping to provide an environmentally friendly and appealing visual amenity to the community.

The ATF headquarters project reinstates two historic northeast Washington streets, 2nd and N, allowing local residents to access the new Red Line Metro station at New York and Florida Avenues, which opened in November 2004.

The National Capital Planning Commission and the D.C. Commission on Fine Arts approved the design for the new building in October 2001. Architect Moshe Safdie and Associates of Somerville, Mass., under the GSA Design Excellence Program, developed the structure.

Excavation and soils remediation work for the project began in early 2004 and on-site construction began in July 2004. GSA selected the firm of Walsh/Davis Joint Venture to be the general contractor for the construction of the project, which totaled $207 million, including $152 million for site, design and construction.

The headquarters building serves as ATF’s new home in Washington, where the agency began as part of the Treasury Department more than 200 years ago. ATF previously was housed at 1300 E Street as Treasury’s Bureau of Industrial Alcohol until 1934, when that bureau was abolished and its duties and functions were transferred to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The renamed Alcohol Tax Unit moved to the IRS Building at 1111 Constitution Ave., until 1972, when ATF became an independent bureau separate from the IRS and moved to 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. That venue was dedicated as the Ariel Rios Building in 1986 named after an ATF agent killed in the line of duty. Since 1990, ATF has been in rented space at 650 Massachusetts Ave.

When ATF joined the Justice Department in 2003, it ended an association with the Treasury Department that dated back to the collection of the first excise tax imposed on imported liquor in 1789, and includes the breakup of the “Whisky Ring” of the 1870s, the exploits of the “Untouchables” during Prohibition, and the investigation of the Washington-area sniper case in 2002.

While it no longer regulates and collects revenue from the alcohol and tobacco industries, ATF continues to regulate the firearms and explosives industries, apprehend armed violent criminals, bombers and arsonists; enforce the federal laws on firearms, explosives and arson; and investigate the criminal trafficking and diversion of alcohol and tobacco.

More information on ATF and its programs can be found at