The Washington Post CAPITAL BUSINESS Radio One moving headquarters to Silver Spring after long flirtation with D.C. By Jonathan O'Connell April 28, 2011
Radio One is moving its corporate headquarters from Lanham to Silver Spring, ending a years-long effort by the company to return to the District, where it was founded by Catherine Hughes in 1980.
The company, owner of 53 urban radio stations in 16 markets nationwide, pursued a move to the District before the economy battered the radio broadcasting industry and the real estate market. It would have anchored a new mixed-use project atop a Metrorail station in the Shaw neighborhood.
Hughes, the company’s chairwoman, who founded the company on H Street NE, made a plea to the D.C. Council to support the Shaw project in 2007. The council and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) obliged, providing a package of subsidies with an estimated value of $30 million. The project was to be named Broadcast Center One and have a ground-floor recording studio. The company has five Washington area stations, including WKYS (93.9 FM).
But Radio One’s stock price dove during the recession as a result of dwindling advertising sales, under-performing assets and high debt levels, and early last year it pulled out of the Shaw project, at Seventh and S streets NW. Its stock has been trading around $2 in recent months.
After restarting its search, the company settled on space just across the border from the District, on the top floor of a Silver Spring office building called the Atrium at Station Square. At 1010 Wayne Ave., the building is near a Red Line Metrorail station and a MARC train station and is home to the company’s TV One unit.
Radio One declined to comment, but according to Moore & Associates, the Bethesda firm that owns and operates the building, TV One extended its lease and the Radio One corporate headquarters will relocate to 23,000 square feet of space in September. CoStar Group, the commercial real estate data firm, posted information about the lease online last week.
“We were always kind of in the running, so to speak,” said Vince Coviello, executive vice president at Moore & Associates. “We had some timely turnover of space, so the top floor became available and some space below that.”
To keep Radio One, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) provided the firm with a $400,000 grant that requires the company to invest at least $1.25 million in the move by the end of 2012 and maintain at least 210 employees there throughout the six-year lease. Karen Glenn Hood, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, said it was important to keep the jobs in the state.
“They were looking to move into D.C., so obviously it was important for us to keep them here,” she said. “Obviously, retaining these jobs is important.”
Steve Silverman, Montgomery County’s director of economic development, said the county also played a role in the deal but declined to comment before Radio One made an announcement.
For the District, Radio One’s move is a loss, but the developers behind the real estate project in Shaw — Four Points, Ellis Development Group and the Jarvis Co. — replaced Radio One with the United Negro College Fund as anchor. The building has since been renamed Progression Place and is under construction.
The Gazette Maryland Community News Online Tuesday, May 3, 2011 Radio One leaving Prince George's for Silver Spring Media company has been in Lanham since 1997 by Lindsey Robbins | Staff Writer
Radio One, a staple of the Prince George's business community for almost 15 years, is joining the ranks of other major employers that have left the county, including Merkle and Integral Systems.
The media company, whose headquarters have been in Lanham since it moved from Washington, D.C., in 1997, has signed a six-year lease in Silver Spring. Radio One, with its hundreds of employees, will occupy 20,000 square feet in the Atrium of the 14-story Station Square, according to Moore & Associates, the Bethesda management company that owns the building, which also houses company offshoot TV One. The move is expected in September.
"It's always a loss when a major company moves out of the county, particularly Radio One with its communication capabilities," said M.H. Jim Estepp, president and CEO of the Greater Prince George's Business Roundtable. "We're hoping the county's new economic team will be able to stem that tide."
Integral Systems, a $178 million satellite provider, moved from Lanham to Columbia in 2009. The previous year, database marketing agency Merkle, a $150 million company, also moved from Lanham to Columbia.
Estepp emphasized that Radio One's departure has been in the works for some time, since 2007 when the company openly began flirting with the idea of moving back to Washington.
"A lot of times it has to do with expansion and the incentives provided," he said. He referred to County Executive Rushern L. Baker III's plans for a $50 million Economic Development Incentive Fund that would provide money for just this purpose, as well as business attraction.
Baker's administration also will be more focused on staying in close contact with existing businesses to ensure the county is doing what it can to meet their needs, said Angela Wright, communications director for Baker (D). She said this focus, which will include more site visits, should help the county address concerns early on.
Estepp said the county needs to focus on learning what attracts businesses to Silver Spring and seeing if it can duplicate that.
Radio One officials did not respond to requests for comment.
The state offered Radio One a $400,000 conditional grant to remain in Maryland, provided the company spend $1.25 million on the move by the end of 2012 and maintain at least 210 full-time employees throughout the six-year lease, said Karen Glenn Hood, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.
"We don't want to lose those jobs. We did what we could to keep them here," Hood said.
Montgomery County also offered Radio One some economic incentives to move to Silver Spring, but officials are withholding comment until the lease is finalized, said Steven A. Silverman, the county's economic development director.
Prince George's offered a comparable incentive package, Wright said.
Radio One settled on the new location after a regional search for a spot that could house both itself and TV One, said Vince Coviello, executive vice president of Moore & Associates.
TV One renewed its lease on the 10th floor of the Silver Spring building, he said.
Radio One has recently become the majority owner of TV One, after increasing its ownership interest to 50.9 percent, according to a company statement.
"We always thought we were in the running. We're happy they chose us," Coviello said.
Gilford Securities Comments On Radio One (ROIAK) By Benzinga Staff May 03, 2011 3:50
Gilford Securities provided color on Radio One's (NASDAQ: ROIAK) preliminary Q1E levels in a research report published today. Gilford Securities has previously given Radio One a Buy rating.
In the report, Gilford Securities states, "The potential plusses of ROIAK's cross-platform prospects and recent improvements are generally positive, with the offset by concern over high debt leverage and uncertain management moves. Yet, even with the slow-ramp economy, the ongoing ad rebound should boost ROIAK's top-line and enhance margins '11E-'12E, especially in web & cable."