Discovery Communications to move out of Silver Spring

Sources: Discovery Communications to move out of Silver Spring. (Brad Bell/ABC7)

Downtown Silver Spring is losing the centerpiece of its economic revitalization program as Discovery Communications has announced it's moving many of its 1,300 employees out of its One Discovery Place headquarters and selling the building.

An announcement email that went out said the closure is slated for 2019. Discovery opened the Silver Spring facility in 2003, which was the magnet for the downtown Silver Spring makeover and revitalization.

The company announced in a press release that they'll be moving their headquarters to New York and will be opening another headquarter campus where Scripps Networks currently operates in Knoxville, Tennessee. Discovery is in the process of completing their purchase of Scripps.

Discovery also announced in the press release that some work will remain active in Maryland after the move.

To continue to support and draw from the robust Maryland and DC-area production community that has developed alongside Discovery over the past 30+ years, the company will maintain a Maryland Network Hub to house select network and support functions, as well as select other functions such as government relations, that are logically based in the Metropolitan DC area. Discovery will evaluate duplication of other facilities and functions in other cities around the world following the closing of the Scripps acquisition to determine the most efficient and effective plan for housing its combined company employee base. Decisions on individual job status and relocation also will be made after the close of the Scripps acquisition.

Last September, the company announced it was spending $10 million to renovate and consolidate its Maryland operations. The company had received $1 million in loans from the state and Montgomery County to fund those changes.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett released the following statement following the announcement:

“I was disappointed to hear of the corporate decision by Discovery Communications to move it’s headquarters from downtown Silver Spring, where they have been located since 2003.
“Certainly these are challenging times in the communications industry and the recent Scripps merger involving Discovery undoubtedly had a significant impact.
“Notwithstanding these changes in objective conditions, Montgomery County has been in discussions with Discovery in the past months since the merger in an effort to respond to the challenges faced by an independent television, entertainment, and education channel in a radically-changing industry. The County and State made a substantial proposal designed to accommodate Discovery’s challenges. Together, we were ready to provide considerable incentives to retain their presence in the County.
“I know this was a tough decision for Discovery. I respect the contributions Discovery has made over the last 15 years to Silver Spring and Montgomery County. We will miss them.”

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