Key Developments: United Therapeutics’ Downtown Expansion Triggers DOT Virtual Hearing

The county’s Department of Transportation has scheduled a virtual hearing for March 14 to discuss the potential future of the Spring-Cameron Garage in downtown Silver Spring.

The 1,311-space public parking garage at 1200 Spring St., which features a parking operations facility and data fiber hub, falls under the management of the Silver Spring Parking Lot District (PLD). Adjacent to the upcoming Atwell on Spring apartment complex and also known as Public Parking Garage 2, the garage is set to be transferred to United Therapeutics to support the biotechnology company’s planned expansion of its downtown Silver Spring campus.

United Therapeutics’ ambitious $100 million expansion agreement with Montgomery County, announced last December, is poised to augment the company’s downtown Silver Spring presence by 40 percent.

As part of UT’s proposed expansion, a land-swap agreement with the county would make way for a new 675-space parking garage at 8615 Georgia Ave., in exchange for the Spring-Cameron Garage. Moreover, UT commits to providing land and resources for a new data fiber hub while relocating the Department of Transportation’s parking operations facility from the Spring-Cameron Garage to a revamped location at 9150 Brookville Road.

The Georgia Ave. site also designates a plot intended for a forthcoming affordable housing project.

“The partnership and agreement we are announcing today will provide significant benefits to County residents, usher in an era of economic growth in Silver Spring, and further solidify Montgomery County’s leading biotech, life sciences and research economy,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in December. “United Therapeutics Corporation is revolutionizing healthcare through the development of manufactured organs for transplant. We are committed to the company’s future growth in Silver Spring, and I look forward to working with the County Council through the property disposition process.”

Pending approval from the County Council, UT will convey ownership of the Georgia Ave. site to the county upon the new garage’s completion. In exchange, the Spring-Cameron Garage site ownership will transition to United Therapeutics to facilitate the company’s anticipated growth.

As part of the ownership transfer conditions, UT is mandated to invest a minimum of $50 million within fifteen years for any new facility on the site. The property disposition protocol mandates public engagement and County Council endorsement after the County Executive certifies the property’s lack of further utility. The county must also ensure that any property it owns is sold for its full market value.

Since its initial commercial sale in 2002, United Therapeutics has experienced an average annual revenue growth exceeding 20 percent. The company transitioned to a Public Benefit Corporation in 2021 and achieved close to $2 billion in revenues by 2022.

In 2002, the county sold land in downtown Silver Spring to United Therapeutics for the establishment of its corporate headquarters at 1040 Spring Street. Subsequently, in 2015, another parcel on Spring Street was sold to UT for the development of its environmentally sustainable, LEED Platinum-certified Unisphere expansion, renowned as the world’s largest site-powered net-zero commercial office building.

Completed in 2018, the Unisphere campus currently employs 230 individuals and focuses on biotechnology, with a specialization in marketing therapeutics for rare diseases and creating manufactured organs for transplant to assist patients with end-stage organ diseases. UT’s DDOMAL facility produces Unituxin, a monoclonal antibody-based orphan drug treatment for pediatric neuroblastoma.

Expanding its footprint in downtown Silver Spring, the company acquired office buildings at 8808 Cameron St. in 2018 and 8905 Fairview Rd. the following year. Additionally, UT is in the process of expanding the Unisphere campus, having procured the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites dual-brand hotel in late 2021.

To participate in the MCDOT virtual hearing, online registration by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 is mandatory. Registered attendees will receive an email containing a Zoom link the day before the scheduled hearing. Both written and oral testimonies hold equal weight and will be archived as part of the public record.

Queries and written submissions can be directed to Tiara McCray via email at [email protected] or by phone at (240) 777-7257.

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