A former mall site in Maryland earmarked as a new FBI HQ is likely to become a data center campus after the bureau decided to settle on another site.

BizJournal reports Lerner affiliate Brightseat Associates LLC this month filed an early-stage application with Prince George's County for a preliminary plan of subdivision to create the Brightseat Tech Park.

Landover Mall Lerner Maryland.jpg
– Google Maps

Spanning an 87-acre site, the project would span around 4.1 million square feet (380,900 sqm) of potential data center space. Further details haven’t been shared.

The site, located in Landover to the east of Washington DC, was previously a shopping mall that has since been demolished. It had been earmarked as one of several candidates for the FBI’s new headquarters.

The FBI has been looking to relocate its HQ away from the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington DC for some 15 years or more. The relocation process was canceled in 2017 by then-President Donald Trump before being restarted again in 2022 under the current Biden Administration.

The mall site was one of two potential sites in Prince George's County – along with an 82-acre parking lot site in the city of Greenbelt owned by Boston Properties – as well as a 58-acre General Services Administration (GSA)-owned tract in Springfield Virginia’s Fairfax County near the FBI's Quantico facility in Prince William County.

The Greenbelt site was selected in November 2023, but was met with controversy and is under investigation.

Lerner, as a potential backup, last year filed an early-stage application with Prince George's County's land use regulatory agency for a "qualified data center” on the site. Now that the Greenbelt site has won out, it seems Lerner is pressing ahead with alternative plans.

The Landover Mall was built by Lerner and opened in 1972, closed in 2002, and demolished in 2006. Sears remained on a portion of the land it owned until 2014.

Lerner previously proposed building a hospital as well as an office/hotel/residential/commercial complex on the site at various times, and went as far as putting the land up for sale in 2018, touting the land as a potential data center development opportunity.

The FBI has been in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, located at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, since it was built in 1975. Prior to this, the agency had been housed at the Department of Justice Building nearby at 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW since 1935.

Lerner Enterprises is a real estate firm owned by the family of Washington Nationals owner Theodore N. Lerner. Lerner passed away in February 2023.

The company is linked to a proposed data center campus project in Gainesville, Prince William County.

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