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Discovery Communications Inc. is adding a third building to its already massive plans for a new headquarters campus in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The media company will lease a five-story, 300,000-sf structure to be erected on the site of the Montgomery County Post Office on Eastern Avenue.

“With dramatic growth across our multiple business units, we are taking the necessary steps to build the foundation for future expansion,” says Judith A. McHale, Discovery’s president and chief operating officer. With its new headquarters and a state-of-the-art facility for Discovery.com, the company’s investment in relocating to Silver Spring from Bethesda will exceed $200 million.

The one-million-sf project is the heart of a revitalization effort for the town that spurred a joint venture between Peterson Cos. and Foulger-Pratt to start early on a $321 million town center that includes offices, shops, restaurants and theaters. Together the two projects will add about two million sf of commercial space.

A joint venture of Freeman Group and Stonebridge Associates will erect the building, which Discovery will lease for 15 years. Approximately 2,200 employees will move to the facility when it is completed in late 2002. The lease is particularly surprising because Discovery hasn’t decided which of its businesses will occupy the site. “It’s hard to predict what units are going into this building because it’s really for future growth,” says David Leavy, Discovery spokesman.

This fall, work will start on a 500,000-sf, 350-foot tower on Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road that will serve as the company’s headquarters. The $150-million project will be the tallest building in Silver Spring. A former Caldor department store near the post office site at 8045 Kenneth St. will also be redeveloped for Discovery.com.

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