Discovery Communications announces move from Silver Spring to NY, over 1K jobs impacted

Discovery Communications announced on Tuesday, following its merger with Scripps, the company will relocate its global headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, to New York City next year.

The company, which employs 1,300 people in the Silver Spring area, has been at their location at Wayne and Georgia Avenue at 1 Discovery Place for 15 years.

"The decision to move our global headquarters from its founding home is one we do not make lightly," said Discovery's President and CEO David Zaslav to employees Tuesday morning.

The company said the move will be to take advantage of the proximity to business, investment and production partners in New York.

"We remain unwavering in our support of the Maryland and Greater Washington, DC area and we thank the leadership of the State of Maryland, Montgomery County and, most importantly, our employees for their cooperation and understanding as we make this important next step for the long-term success of Discovery," said Zaslav.

Discovery said it will sell the building in Silver Spring, but it will still maintain a Maryland Network Hub to house select network and support functions, as well as select other functions such as government relations.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said he was "disappointed" to hear of the decision by Discovery Communications to move its headquarters from downtown Silver Spring.

"I am disappointed to say the least," Leggett said. "This has been an ongoing evaluation and discussion over the last year. They made a very strong strategic decision about how they want to move forward. I don't think it has anything to do with the county's offer between the county and the state. We put up an offer that is larger than any that I can recall in the county's history."

Leggett said that the 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."

Discovery's downtown Silver Spring office and its employees have become a prominent part of the area. The company has been known to hold local events in downtown Silver Spring and in the D.C. metro area, both during Shark Week and throughout the year. The company received lots of attention when it featured a shark head protruding from the side of the building during their week-long shark programming.

"We love Maryland, we love Silver Spring," said David Leavy, chief corporate operations and communications officer for Discovery Communications. "This has nothing to do with Silver Spring. This has everything to do with the changing media landscape and how we can best operate our company and have the operating leverage to go forward. But let there be no doubt we love this community and we want to stay in this community wherever that presence is, and Ike and the team has bent over backwards. Maryland is business-friendly. Montgomery County is business-friendly."

Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion in 2017.

Discovery had announced in September that they would be investing more than $10 million in renovations for its downtown building. The company had said at that time that it would be moving 230 employees from their Kennett Street creative and technical center to their main building.

"Certainly these are challenging times in the communications industry and the recent Scripps merger involving Discovery undoubtedly had a significant impact," said Leggett in a statement.

Leggett said the county and state both made a substantial proposal designed to accommodate Discovery.

"Together, we were ready to provide considerable incentives to retain their presence in the County," he said. "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."

Discovery has also announced they will be making their state-of-the-art media distribution facility in Sterling, Virginia, a global technology center. It also said they are expanding their National Operations Headquarters at Scripps' current campus in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Discovery Communications was founded in Landover, Maryland in 1985. The company's global headquarters was in Bethesda in 1991, before the move to its current location in Silver Spring in 2003.