Ana G. Méndez University, a private school with multiple satellite campuses, has relocated to the former Discovery Building in downtown Silver Spring.
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation announced the news in a press release on Monday. The nonprofit university system, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, signed a lease to operate 28,500 square feet at One Discovery Place — now known as Inventa Towers.
The university system operates multiple campuses in Puerto Rico and the continental United States, with locations in Florida, Maryland and Texas.
MCEDC began working with the school in April 2018 to consolidate its capital area campus — formerly on Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton — and its president and government affairs offices in Washington, D.C.
The university has operated in Montgomery County since 2012, according to Lynn Stander, a senior copywriter for MCEDC.
Both locations will relocate to Silver Spring by May 2020, according to the release. The university has also leased interim space on the second floor of Inventa Towers until the new campus officially opens.
Ana G. Méndez University was founded in 1941 as the Puerto Rico High School of Commerce, according to its website.
It has the first and only bilingual education program in the United States, according to the release, and provides training to roughly 44,000 students across 22 campuses.
About 340 “adult learners” are enrolled at the capital-area campus in associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs, according to the release. The university provides degree programs in 30 subjects, including nursing, business, education, criminal justice and psychology.
The new location can accommodate more students, according to Bill Tompkins, the chief operating officer for MCEDC. The school will retain 26 current employees in Montgomery County and plans to add another 12 positions.
The university system is listed as a nonprofit by the Internal Revenue Service, with $363.5 million in total assets at the end of 2017 — the most recent available tax records for the organization.
Representatives with Ana G. Méndez University did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday afternoon. But Tompkins described the move as an important step in repurposing the former Discovery Building, once the headquarters of Discovery Communications.
The company dealt a blow to Montgomery County in 2018 when it announced plans to relocate to New York and Tennessee. The building’s new owners — Foulger-Pratt and Cerberus Capital Management — have been working to refill the space since investing close to $15 million in renovations, Tompkins said.
“Obviously because of the square footage, it’s an important part of the county’s economy,” he added.
Ana G. Méndez University is the third tenant to publicly announce plans to move into the building. Children’s National Health System, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare provider, was the first company to relocate there in May.