County Council President Hans Riemer Credit: Montgomery County

County Council president struggles to provide examples of success of Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.

County Council President Hans Riemer was not able to provide a specific example when he was asked at a weekly press briefing Monday if he could cite the achievements of the 2-year-old nonprofit Montgomery County Economic Development Corp.

“OK, so what are the successes of the Economic Development Corp.?” Riemer said. “Um, I might need a little staff here. My economic development team is not here.”

After a brief pause, he continued, “They are a new organization, they are growing. They have helped us build consensus around economic development. They have helped engage the business community in a positive way. I think they have improved the dialogue.”

He said a recent report released by Sage Policy Group and commissioned by the nonprofit business advocacy group Empower Montgomery that described the county’s economic situation as in a “downward fiscal spiral” has reignited controversy over the pace of local economic growth.

“In comes this attempt to overturn the apple cart and get everyone shooting at us again,” Riemer said.


Like County Executive Ike Leggett, Riemer criticized the Sage report by saying the authors selectively chose certain economic data to paint a bleak picture of the local economy, when other statistics such as the county’s unemployment rate and the office vacancy rate are better than or in line with regional jurisdictions.


JBG stock rises amid Amazon speculation


Chevy Chase-based JBG Smith Properties Inc. has seen its stock rise about 12 percent in the past 30 days amid speculation that Amazon may choose a location for its second headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area where the developer owns a considerable amount of property.

The company’s stock has risen from around $33 a share at the beginning of April to around $37 this week.

The company owns a significant amount of property in Crystal City and Potomac Yard, an area that’s said to be part of Northern Virginia’s bid for Amazon, according to The Washington Business Journal. The report noted JBG’s shares rose more than $2 after The Conference Board, a New York-based research group, determined Boston and the D.C. area are among the most likely to win the second headquarters. The project is expected to bring about 50,000 new jobs to the winning location.


Montgomery County is among the 20 places chosen as finalists in Amazon’s search.

Stock analysts have estimated that JBG’s shares could rise above $40 if the Crystal City site is selected. 



Maryland tops list of states with most minority- and female-owned businesses

Maryland had significantly more minority business owners per 1,000 residents compared to the next closest state—Delaware—in a new ranking released in April by the payroll firm Paychex. It also outpaced other states where data was available concerning the number of female-owned businesses per 1,000 residents, according to the firm.

The state has about 42 minority business owners per 1,000 residents—more than Delaware’s 29 and the 17.7 of Arkansas, which ranked third. Maryland has about 17.5 female business owners per 1,000 residents, topping Rhode Island’s 14.8 and Washington’s 13.4 on the list.


Kensington made the list as well—its rate of 2.1 female business owners per 1,000 residents was the second-most among towns and cities in Maryland, just behind Sykesville’s rate of 2.5.

Paychex created the ranking using data it obtained from state agencies.