Tag: Rand Building

Geekdom Moves Into its New Headquarters at the Rand

Founder of Silicon Hills News

IMG_2861The geeks might inherit the earth eventually, but for now, they’ve got their own building in downtown San Antonio.

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.”

IMG_2878Geekdom 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.

IMG_2810The 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.

IMG_2843Geekdom’s community space also has multi-level workstations for people who like to stand while they work as well as desks for sitting.

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.

IMG_2848For 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

Geekdom Gets a Hip Makeover at its New Digs in the Historic Rand Building

A mock-up of the new open community space at Geekdom, once it moves into the historic Rand building.  Courtesy of Alamo Architects

A mock-up of the new open community space at Geekdom, once it moves into the historic Rand building. Courtesy of Alamo Architects

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Converting a historic building into a modern-day tech coworking space to incubate hot new startups in downtown San Antonio isn’t an easy task.
But Irby Hightower of Alamo Architects and his team have managed to do just that. They took a former bank building and are transforming the seventh floor into a modern day workplace for geeks.
It’s a work in progress right now. In fact, it’s a hard-hat construction zone. But once finished, the new Geekdom at the Rand will have bike racks, showers, lockers, changing rooms, a nap room and transparent glass sliding doors on the offices to give the entire floor a wide-open feel.

Irby Hightower with Alamo Architects shows off the new design for Geekdom at the Rand building.

Irby Hightower with Alamo Architects shows off the new design for Geekdom at the Rand building.

“The center offices open up from a smaller office to a larger office as a startup grows,” said Hightower. He presented drawings of the new space at a town hall meeting for members at Geekdom on Wednesday night.
The 1,200 square foot space will have 20 offices available for tech startups. Desks will rent for $200 a month. Community membership will remain at $50 a month. At the new site, the community space is larger and snakes throughout the floor.
An open kitchen also encourages interaction among the members. The entire place is built to encourage community collaboration.
The space also includes a large conference room and smaller conference rooms.
“The whole place really is meant to be one big community work environment,” Hightower said.
The new Geekdom is a little grungier than the 11th floor of the Weston Centre, current home of the site and a former law office.
A packed house turned out for the town hall meeting at Geekdom to unveil the new design for the site at the Rand building.

A packed house turned out for the town hall meeting at Geekdom to unveil the new design for the site at the Rand building.

“We think that’s the right approach,” Hightower said. “The ceilings will have more character…It’s the kind of space you can experiment in and have more fun in.”
The space will also contain a lot of writeable surfaces and reliable high-speed Internet with lots of outlets for wired service as well as Wi-Fi.
The main floor of the building will also contain an events center with two Tricasters, portable live broadcasting studios, from NewTek for live streaming programming. The events center will also house a Ping-Pong table and other games.
The new Geekdom is expected to open on March 31st. It will feature the events center, the sixth floor for established tech companies and the seventh floor for new startups and community members.
In another 18 months, the entire Rand building will be vacated and will belong to Geekdom, said Lorenzo Gomez with Geekdom and the 80/20 Foundation.
They’ve talked about putting an electric sign on the roof of the building then with one letter that continues to flicker on and off, harkening back to the 1930s, when the building served as a department store.

Geekdom is a sponsor of SiliconHillsNews.com

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