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1Rackspace Hosting’s Headquarters Cloud Provider Moves into Abandoned Mall

Rackspace moved the first of its employees into the space on May 12, 2008, about five months after demolition had begun. They sit where Mervyns used to be. Local and state incentives were offered to Rackspace to take over the abandoned mall.

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Rackspace took the green approach to renovation, achieving Lead Gold Certified status. The green renovation included low VOC paints, recycling of 1,000 tons of carpet, drywall and plywood. Everything that could be reused was sent to Habitat for Humanity.

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A cistern outside the main entrance collects the humidity from inside the building (literally employee sweat) and stores it. The water collected is more than enough than is needed to maintain the building’s landscaping, even in 100-plus degree Texas heat.

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Among the environmental practices Rackspace has embraced – designating one of the first rows of parking for fuel efficient vehicles.

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Expectant mothers get the first row of parking, however.

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Core values are prominently displayed inside the former mall, including Fanatical Support.

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Each department at Rackspace Hosting is designated with a banner hung from the high ceilings. This one celebrates Rackspace’s channel commitment which has recently expanded to work with distributor Ingram Micro.

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Rackspace employees, or “Rackers” as they are known internally, display banners over their cubicles of their favorite sports teams, countries, or universities. They also display their “5 Year Racker” banners or “10 Year Racker” banners to celebrate their tenure with the company.

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Rackspace kept the escalators from the Mervyns in place to take employees from the first to second. To the left you’ll see the words largest word search puzzle, posted to fill the entire wall by the escalators.

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Only about one-fifth of the interior mall space has been finished so far. Rackspace will continue the project to finish the rest, including this former J.C. Penney store, in the years to come.

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The abandoned mall provides a total of 1.2 million square feet or 28 acres of space under roof for Rackspace to expand into. And while the company initially wanted to put a data center here, power and broadband to the site remain inadequate today to build a center there.

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Rackspace began demolition in December 2007 and the first phase of construction lasted five months. In December 2009 the second phase opened.

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All Rackspace employees, including human resources professionals, sit in cubicles. That means that the company needs many conference rooms for private meetings. To make it fun, they all have themes. Here is the Lodge Room.

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And here’s the Estate Room conference room. Another room features a telepresence system from LifeSize.

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Part of the culture at Rackspace includes an internal, over-the-intranet, radio station that allows employees to host their own radio shows on the topic of their choice, from fantasy football to cooking.

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The vast expanse of the former mall gives Rackspace plenty of room to expand as it grows its channel program and customer base. There’s lots of earth-based space for this cloud company to grow into, as seen in this Google Earth image.