A rendering of the proposed renovation by Gensler, photo courtesy of ACC

A rendering of the proposed renovation by Gensler, photo courtesy of ACC

Rackspace Hosting is known for innovating in old malls.

The San Antonio-based hosting company moved into the former Windsor Park Mall in Windcrest in 2007. Rackspace transformed the defunct and dilapidated mall into a vibrant and dynamic space with a slide, cafeteria, wide open spaces and a conference center for its tech community.

Now the Web hosting company plans to expand its operations in Austin into another mall, the former Highland Lakes Mall, owned by the Austin Community College. Rackspace plans to relocate 570 employees by late next year to Highland and expand in the future.

Last week, the Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees approved a move to negotiate an agreement with Rackspace to allow the company to renovate the former Dillard’s department store and lease it to Rackspace.

The collaboration between ACC and Rackspace includes providing paid internships for ACC students, enhancing tech training.

The Austin-based Live Oak-Gottesman will renovate the “four-story, 194,000-square-foot Dillard’s space, funded by a portion of Rackspace’s lease payment,” according to a news release from ACC.

“Highland represents the future of higher education, and partnerships like this are a very important component of that—creating new opportunities for students and ensuring a pipeline of skilled workers for the region,” Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO said in a news release. “Rackspace is one of the area’s top employers and has a strong commitment to education. Live Oak-Gottesman has a three-decade track record of successful development in Central Texas. We look forward to seeing this partnership come to fruition.”