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This has been bugging me for YEARS. There is a very mysterious, windowless, signless, addressless building in Clairemont Mesa. It has a high, barbed-wired fence around it and a key-card access gate, but no windows or identifying marks whatsoever. Google Maps gives the address as 5960 Balboa Ave. Is it a secret CIA interrogation room? A highly secure data center. Are they researching anthrax there? Animal experiments? What’s the scoop?

— Ryan

You’re right. That is one creepy looking building. It’s so anonymous that it could be the shell on top of a vast, underground complex that extends many fathoms below the surface of the earth. Agents of a dark collective bent on world domination might very well toil underground in the sunless depths, creating implements of destruction at the behest of a Lex Luthor–esque evil genius. Right now, Skynet could be massing its forces for the hostile takeover of civilization as we know it.

Fortunately for all of us, the might of the Alice Research Institute rivals any evil organization. I’ve mobilized all available elf-power and gotten the facts. It turns out that one of your guesses was close. The building in question — technically on Balboa Arms Drive just off Mt. Abernathy Avenue — is the property of AT&T Wireless. They’re mighty tight-lipped about the exact usage of this mysterious building, but they did admit that only a small handful of employees work there. To me, that implies it’s a data-processing center, which would explain the high-security appearance. These days, data is one of the most precious commodities there is, and enterprising thieves can make good use of pilfered wares, both soft and hard, to defraud the general public. Protecting customer data is priority number one for big telecom companies, since investor faith erodes like the sandy banks of a mighty river in the wake of corporate security breaches.

Rather than being a part of county records, the spooky property is assessed by the State of California and leased to AT&T by them as well. The phone company’s business relationship with Sacramento is sufficiently large that it’s been deemed beyond county control, which makes info on the mystery building that much harder to come by.

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mngcornaglia Feb. 14, 2013 @ 1:29 a.m.

passed this place a few times and had the feeling it was out-of-place and mysterious, especially as it is also right next to a funeral home ...


dabossinator Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:40 p.m.

ive lived on the other end of Mt. Abernathy and have always wondered what this building was for. My dad had said that it used to be an old phone switching station but did not know what it is now, and ive never seen anyone go in or out


Burwell Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:46 p.m.

The CEO of AT&T Wireless stores his wine collection and stash of pre-embargo Cohibas at this building.


tomjohnston Feb. 18, 2013 @ 5:16 p.m.

I doubt that. Said CEO is a native Cuban and I'm quite sure he maintains a pipeline for his cigars and rum. Personally, I prefer Partagás.


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