Recently-acquired Compass Datacenters is set to buy a former Sears office complex in Chicago, Illinois, likely for a new data center campus.

First reported by Crains, the data center builder and operator is “poised” to take over the Sears sitein the Hoffman Estates area of the city. This would be Compass' first location in the Chicago area.

Transformco Hoffman Estates chicago illinios.jpg
– Transformco

The company has reportedly signed a contract to buy the 2.4 million sq ft property in Cook County, which was the department store chain’s headquarters for more than three decades, according to people familiar with the transaction.

The price wasn’t shared, though the assessed value of the campus was $50 million in 2021, down from $150 million in 2013. The companies declined to comment to the publication.

The campus spans 274 acres, including a roughly 125-acre site at 3333 Beverly Road where the company’s offices stand, according to a Colliers marketing brochure. The site features seven interconnected office buildings as well as 120 undeveloped acres around them. A nearby substation is reportedly expandable to 68MW, according to the sales brochure.

Sears, which became part of Transformco in 2019 after ESL Investments acquired the struggling retailer, put its Hoffman Estates headquarters up for sale in early 2022. The company, which declared bankruptcy in 2018, had used the site as its HQ since 1992 and had more than 4,000 employees on-site pre-Covid.

The Daily Herald reported this month that Transformco had selected a buyer for the site and was performing due diligence, but the buyer wasn’t named at the time.

The Colliers sales brochure notes that the Village of Hoffman Estates would be “willing” to consider a redevelopment plan for the campus. Hoffman Estates Mayor William McLeod told Crains he wasn’t against the idea of developing the site into data centers.

“I think it would be an appropriate use,” he said.

Compass reportedly wasn’t the only data center developer interested in the site, and wasn’t originally first in line to acquire it.

Crains reports Compass agreed to buy the property after an earlier deal to sell it to Yondr fell through. According to the Herald, Hoffman Estates village trustees said there had been interest in the site from a potential buyer earlier this year, but that group could not put together the financing to make a deal.

"There was a buyer, at one point just recently, who could not come up with the funds necessary to complete the deal," Trustee Gary Stanton said recently. "Whether or not they can go back to their banking system and figure out how to do it, I don't know. We'll see. However, there are other people that might be interested, and that's what Kevin [Kramer, Hoffman’s Economic Development Director] is trying to work on."

Founded in 2011, Compass currently operates or is developing around 16 data center sites across the US, Europe, and Israel. The company also has a modular facility offering., and has plans to develop an 11 million sq ft data center campus in Virginia. Compass was acquired by Brookfield and existing investor Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in June 2023 for an estimated $5.5 billion.

While Elk Grove is the main data center hub within the Chicago metro, Microsoft is developing two data centers in the Hoffman Estates area of the city.

In Texas, Sabey is developing a 73MW data center campus on a site that previously housed a Sears call center.