When a business says it's leaving its' current location, some people wonder "what happened?"
"This one is the caddy shack conference room", Robert McAden, business operations manager for Rackspace Blacksburg, said.
He led us through a couple of different meeting rooms inside its University Mall site in Blacksburg. Created in 1999, by three college students, Rackspace has been named one of the top 100 businesses to work for by Fortune magazine. The Blacksburg site has been located quietly, for years inside the Mall.
Scores of programmers are each doing their own thing, in their cubicle, while collectively working towards large goals. They work hard here and they're a little goofy. McAden leads us from one room to the next.
"The conference room next [door] is [for] the usual suspects, this is our interrogation room," he said.
Today, 120 people call this site their full time workspace, but by next year, Rackspace will relocate down the road, to the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
Standing in the middle of a large room, McAden ushered others around us as he spoke, "We felt that the available talent here was sufficient to justify our investment here and also the fact that we have been able to attract talent from around the country and around the world."
Rackspace says it competes with IT giants like Amazon and Microsoft but it has no regional competition. Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Politis said as a whole, the New River Valley has enjoyed an economic upturn more than other parts of the state and that Rackspace, not relocating out of the area, says a lot.
"Because number one, good companies generate more good companies coming in, and technology is significant in our area and hi tech jobs pay very well," Politis said.
The current Rackspace site has about 18,000 square feet. That's a lot, but the Austin, Texas,-based company says it's not enough. The future site will have 32,000 square feet.
State officials say public tax dollars will help recruit and train future and current Rackspace employees. Part of the pitch, said McAden, is to keep the IT talent from walking.
"[It} helps us for people who want to stay local and maybe don't want to go to a Facebook or an Amazon and track halfway across the country," McAden said.
Rackspace says it should be in its new Corporate Research Center location by the first quarter of next year.