Discover Communications

Opens New Home Today

This morning, Discovery Communications plans the grand opening of its headquarters in Silver Spring, a slick, $150 million facility for the cable TV company. For weeks, employees have been moving from a maze of buildings in Bethesda to a suburb long bypassed by glitzy development.

For those involved with development efforts in Silver Spring, where revitalization efforts have started and failed too many times to count, the opening of Discovery and a handful of other developments signal the suburb's time has finally come. Besides Discovery, on April 11 the American Film Institute plans to open a renovated 1938 Silver Theater, presenting specialty movies. New residential and retail facilities have also opened in Silver Spring in the past year, and more are planned.

Those most excited about Discovery's arrival may be the small businesses in the blocks around it, which have awaited bigger crowds in a downtown area that peaked in the 1960s. Discovery planned the headquarters specifically to create spin-off effects; there is no cafeteria, all but forcing workers to frequent local restaurants.

"Before we had construction workers, but now we can see that Discovery workers are coming in for lunch," said Jose Alvarez, an owner of the Mexican restaurant Mi Rancho. Several restaurant chains are plan to open there in the months ahead, including Panera Bread, Austin Grill and Macaroni Grill. Alvarez isn't worried. "It's different when you are a family and manage your staff. We're not afraid of the chains."

A Leaner US Airways

Set to Exit Chapter 11

After seven months and $1.9 billion in annualized cost cuts, Arlington-based US Airways is scheduled to emerge from bankruptcy protection by close of business today.

Attorneys for the nation's seventh-largest airline spent the weekend completing thousands of pieces of paperwork with creditors.

Today, US Airways is to receive $900 million in federal loan guarantees to back up $1 billion in loans. The airline also cut wages by 5 percent across the board because it said the war has caused bookings to decline.

It is scheduled to receive about $371 million from its largest investor, Retirement Systems of Alabama. With today's investment, the state pension fund has invested $740 million into US Airways. The fund takes a 37 percent stake in the airline and assumes eight seats on the airline's new board of directors. That board plans to hold its first meeting later this week.