By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
On Monday, two Geekdom flags flew from the top of the historic Rand Building at 100 E. Houston St., signifying the move in of Geekdom members. It’s their new headquarters.
On the seventh floor, Lorenzo Gomez, director of Geekdom, thanked everyone involved in the yearlong renovation of the space and move to the new 12,400 square foot space. (Eventually Geekdom will takeover the entire building, but for now it’s occupying one floor) He thanked Geekdom Staffers Kara Gomez, Julie Campbell, Ryan Salts and Zac Harris as well as Nick Longo, co-founder of Geekdom, the place where startups are born. Geekdom tailored the space to meet the needs of its community members.
“Here we have more useable space for the community,” Longo said. “We doubled the size of the space for community members.”
Geekdom members toasted with mimosas served in red solo cups and celebrated the new space with sweet rolls and macaroons from Bakery Lorraine.
A year ago, Graham Weston, chairman and CEO of Rackspace, through his Weston Urban LLC., bought the Rand Building from Frost Bank with plans to create a permanent home for Geekdom, a thriving community of technology workers in San Antonio. The space serves as the epicenter of the city’s technology community, Gomez said.
Alamo Architects‘ Irby Hightower and his team worked with Geekdom and its members to tailor a space specifically to their needs, Gomez said. It features a large community space for members with an open kitchen and bar stools nestled around a long table. The office is functional and looks cool with exposed pipes in the main room and a wooden ceiling by the kitchen, funky light fixtures, red and black carpeting to muffle the noise, murals, whiteboards and writeable walls. The signs to the conference rooms pay homage to video games of the past.
The space also features bike racks and showers. And it has 23 offices and several conference rooms and a telephone room for private phone calls. It even has a mother’s lounge for new moms who need a private space for pumping breast milk.
The new Geekdom office also has lots of windows and offers spectacular views of downtown San Antonio.
Eventually, Geekdom will take over the entire Rand building. For now, it has moved into the seventh floor, but in a few months, the larger companies like TrueAbility, ParLevel Systems, Codeup, Pressable, Promoter.io, FlashScan3D and Sammis & Ochoa will move to the sixth floor.
“We have a Champagne problem,” Gomez said. “We have more demand then there is supply for. We have more startups that want space than we have space for. Next year this time, when the rest of Frost moves out it’s going to be a really big question we’ll have to figure out the answer for whether it’s more offices, more community space. We don’t know the answer yet.” It could be one big company with 100 employees moves in to an entire floor, he said.
For the past two and a half years, Geekdom has been housed on the 11th and 10th floors of the Weston Centre, about a block away from the Rand. But the technology incubator and coworking space has grown dramatically with more than 750 members and needed a building of its own, Gomez said.
Later this summer, Geekdom will also open an events center on the first floor of the Rand Building. But for now, it’s hosting its events at the Weston Centre until the space can be finished out.
Geekdom’s new building is designed to launch, nurture and expand San Antonio’s technology industry through startups, Gomez said.
Laura Thompson, a public relations expert, joined Geekdom about a year ago. She plans to launch a startup called The African American Network, a broadcast company.
“I hope to be one of the companies that grows into a bigger space here,” she said.
The new space got rave reviews from Geekdom members.
“It’s cozy and warm,” said Jorge Amodio, a hardware developer and Geekdom member for more than a year.
The glass doors on the conference rooms are more inviting for collaborating and coworking, Amodio said. The natural light is also a bonus, he said. But the real draw is the people, he said.
“Geekdom is about being part of a smart, vibrant community,” Amodio said.
Geekdom is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News