A Beltsville technology company that bought a former department store building in Glen Burnie said this week it plans to convert it into a sprawling data center for government and commercial customers.

Privately-held AiNet Corp., which owns and operates data centers and fiber optic networks, bought the former Boscov's department store building at Marley Station Mall in January for $1.6 million from an arm of General Growth Properties.

Deepak Jain, AiNet's founder and president, said his company is ramping up operations this spring and summer at the 300,000-square-foot facility. In three to five years, Jain said, AiNet could employ around 50 of its own employees at the center, plus accommodate up to 2,500 workers who could support government or corporate data operations that are leased at the center.

He said AiNet's expects government and corporate data center needs in the Baltimore-Washington region to grow over the next several years. The company is also marketing to government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, and companies that focus on cyber security in the region. He purposely chose to locate closer to Baltimore, as opposed to Washington and Northern Virginia, where there are several existing data center operations.

"We think there's an over-concentration" of data centers in Northern Virginia, said Jain. With Fort Meade and the NSA a 20-minute drive away, Anne Arundel County is the "global headquarters for cyber security," he said.

AiNet operates 20 data centers around the world, in most cases for individual customers. The company currently has two data centers – in Beltsville and Laurel – where it leases shared space to many customers.