Rackspace settles into Windsor 'castle'

Time to move in!

In the former Windsor Park Mall, Rackspace has converted an old Mervyn’s department store into a sleek modern headquarters.

Its new office doesn’t look anything like the old clothing store, except for a pair of escalators at its heart.

“We call this place the castle,’’ Rackspace Chairman Graham Weston said. It’s nicknamed after Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British monarchy.

A sleek silver sculpture of a ship’s sail graces its entrance. Inside, the office has an industrial modern design with exposed rafters, a humongous fan with 10-foot blades and what they deem as “the world’s largest word search” covering an entire wall. An old loading dock now serves as a recreation room with a giant checkerboard floor and a ping-pong table.

Rackspace recently completed Phase I, or 84,000 square feet, of its ambitious plan to convert the vacant 1.2 million-square-foot, 34-year-old mall into what it envisions as “Tech Town.” Soon, Rackspace plans to launch Phase II. It ended its contract with Workstage of Grand Rapids, Mich., and is putting the project out to bid now, Weston said.

“They exceeded all of our expectations with the first phase,’’ said Ray Watson, Windcrest’s economic development director. Rackspace is the largest business in Windcrest, a small suburb off Interstate 35.

Rackspace is key to the revitalizing the Northeast Side, along with the military’s expansion at Fort Sam Houston, Watson said. Retailers already report an increase in sales from Rackspace workers, he said.

Before Rackspace’s project, nothing was going on in the area, Watson said.

“We have people coming to us now,’’ he said.

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