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McClatchy-Tribune  07/08/2014 3:30 PM ET
Rackspace bound for Austin Community College's Highland campus [Austin American-Statesman :: ]

July 08--Austin Community College says it will enter a public-private partnership with tech company Rackspace Hosting that will move 570 of Rackspace's Austin employees into ACC's Highland campus, formerly Highland Mall.

Rackspace -- a San Antonio-based cloud management company -- plans to open its Highland offices in late 2015 in a renovated space that was formerly home to Dillard's. Rackspace said it also expand its local workforce there in the future.

ACC's Board of Trustees voted Monday to authorize contract negotiations with Rackspace. The partnership is expected to include paid internships for ACC students, as well as enhanced technology training and other educational benefits, while allowing Rackspace to benefit from proximity to the college.

Live Oak-Gottesman, an Austin commercial real estate development firm, will renovate the four-story, 194,000-square-foot former Dillard's space, funded by a portion of Rackspace's lease payment. Live Oak-Gottesman is affiliated with RedLeaf Properties, the firm that will redevelop the parking lots at the former mall into a mix of uses.

"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," Richard Rhodes, ACC president and CEO, said in a written statement. "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."

Rob Golding, CEO of Live Oak-Gottesman, said the partnership "will bring even more energy to the area and accelerate the transformation taking place at Highland. This is a win for the college, its students, Rackspace, and the entire community."

In accordance with state law governing public-private partnerships, ACC will publish Live Oak-Gottesman's proposal on the college's website and hold public hearings on the proposal. Once the proposed contract with Live Oak-Gottesman is negotiated, it also will be published on the college's website, and a public hearing will be held on the terms of the proposed contract.

The college's first phase of development at Highland, including ACCelerator -- which is being billed as the nation's largest learning lab -- will open this fall.


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