What Does Discovery’s Departure Mean for Silver Spring?
Tuesday’s statement that Discovery Communications plans to shut and promote its headquarters is a large blow to Silver Spring, whose revitalization Discovery helped kickstart two decades ago.
Discovery, which operates television channels inclusive of TLC, Animal Planet, and personal, currently employs about 1,three hundred people at its headquarters, which occupies a giant city block across the road from the Silver Spring Metro station and is understood for its iconic Shark Week-themed displays. It’ll move the corporate places of work to the big apple, even as creative and returned workplace sports will go to Knoxville, Tennessee, home to Scripps Networks, which Discovery agreed to buy closing year.
Sir Bernard Law County government Ike Leggett said in a declaration that the county and country of Maryland sought to maintain Discovery inside the location: “The County and kingdom made a widespread idea designed to house Discovery’s challenges. together, we had been prepared to offer full-size incentives to preserve their presence inside the County. I know this became a tough choice for Discovery. I admire the contributions Discovery has made during the last 15 years to Silver Spring and 1st viscount montgomery of alamein County. we can miss them.”
nearly considering its inception in 1985, Discovery was based in Bernard Law Montgomery County, at the start on Wisconsin avenue in Bethesda. in the Nineteen Nineties, Montgomery County changed into looking for a manner to revitalize downtown Silver Spring, which were suffering for many years because of white flight and disinvestment. The county had entertained a couple of proposals to construct a megamall on four metropolis blocks bounded with the aid of Georgia avenue, Wayne avenue, and Colesville avenue, such as one from the builders of the Mall of the united states.
That plan fell through in 1996. two years later, the county agreed to clear the land and provide it to Discovery for a new headquarters, along side $10 million in tax subsidies. Sir Bernard Law County condemned several public streets and relocated many agencies, consisting of the enduring Tastee Diner, which was put on the lower back of a truck and shifted some blocks away. In 1998, Discovery began paintings on its new headquarters, a $165 million, 10-tale tower.
The building anchored a bigger redevelopment project, which includes an outdoor purchasing middle, a public plaza and city corridor, and new houses. when it opened in 2003, county leaders boasted that Discovery could make Silver Spring the “Burbank of the East Coast,” citing the California town home to numerous media corporations. the yank movie Institute placed a block away, and collectively with Discovery backed an annual film festival, Silverdocs. Radio One, a community of black-owned television and radio stations, moved in across the street. Discovery obtained a second building on nearby Kennett road to hold more people.
abruptly, a place Washington town Paper had dubbed a “shiny picture of city splatter” had emerge as a new warm spot. nearby restaurants boasted of extended foot traffic from employees. Video and recording businesses settled within the region to guide the developing media hub. local filmmaker Walter Gottlieb even created a comedy webseries, The Videomakers, approximately the employees of a fictionalized version of the discovery Channel.
inside some years, Silver Spring’s aim of turning into a media cluster was petering out as DC’s personal revitalization persevered. In 2008, NPR considered shifting from Mount Vernon square to Silver Spring, but decided to live within the District. Sir Bernard Law County Councilmember (and current County govt candidate) Marc Elrich antagonistic it, saying, “I’m opposed to pulling groups out of the District.” In 2013, Discovery pulled its sponsorship of Silverdocs, and AFI moved maximum of the film pageant to venues in DC.
Discovery turned into having problems of its own, laying off workers and moving some capabilities to ny. Its nearby staff, which the Washington put up reports numbered 2,500 ten years ago, is all the way down to about 1,300. In 2017, after shopping for Scripps, Discovery moved its workers out of the Kennett avenue constructing, and received $1 million in tax incentives from Montgomery County and Maryland to renovate its headquarters. (a part of that was a mortgage that had no longer yet been dispensed, a spokesperson for the Maryland branch of commerce informed Washingtonian.)
Discovery isn’t the simplest massive enterprise leaving. The Maryland-country wide Capital Park and planning commission plans to move its headquarters from downtown Silver Spring to Wheaton. in the quick term, those two departures could be a large blow to Silver Spring eating places and corporations, who rely on people for daytime visitors. it would even have an effect on domestic costs inside the surrounding location.
in the long term, Silver Spring is in all likelihood to be ok. big federal groups are (for now) nevertheless positioned right here, like the country wide Oceanic and Atmospheric management. Pharmaceutical corporation United Therapeutics, whose CEO lives in Silver Spring, has undergone a huge enlargement here, and is presently building a new workplace and lab building dubbed the Unisphere. And with the Fillmore tune hall, a newly renovated Ellsworth location, and a slew of properly-seemed restaurants, it’s still a local vacation spot for buying and enjoyment.
however there is now a big hollow within the center of downtown, and it received’t be easy to fill. There aren’t a whole lot of agencies that can fill a massive, cause-built office building. It’s additionally a staggeringly anti-city constructing, turning its lower back on downtown streets with blank walls, a partially above-ground parking garage, and a massive park this is often inaccessible to the general public. This makes it hard to adapt the constructing to a distinct use, like retail or housing.
Discovery’s move additionally received’t assist Montgomery County’s recognition as being unattractive to businesses. It couldn’t compete with the big apple as a prestigious headquarters place. And County Councilmember Hans Riemer told Bethesda Beat that the “fee of doing business is lots better here than in Tennessee.” The county says its plan to update Discovery is a “work in development.”
in the meantime, Discovery will continue to be in Silver Spring till subsequent summer. right here’s hoping Chompie the Shark may make one closing appearance earlier than heading to ny.
This piece turned into additionally published on greater more Washington.
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