Officials and real estate developers in Prince George’s County were forlorn to see the federal government decide to keep about 3,000 jobs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville last summer. Now we know how much Montgomery County was willing to shell out to keep the nearly 1 million-square-foot lease: $19.7 million.

Steve Silverman, director of the Maryland Department of Economic Development, revealed the number at an Urban Land Institute forum on federal real estate Tuesday in Silver Spring.

Silverman said County Executive Isiah Leggett acted aggressively to keep HHS in part because jobs at the agency are considered some of the higher-paying government jobs. The agency could put even more employees there as the federal government tries to use its office space more efficiently.

“That’s 3,000-plus employees. When all is said and done, it may be well in excess of that,” Silverman said.

Once all the paperwork is complete, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker will have his own $50 million fund from which to issue such subsidizes, so the battle to keep major office tenants will likely tighten.

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