Rackspace announces new projects for their campus! See what will be coming to Rackspace in the near future. CLICK HERE to see what they are planning to do.
This is probably the most important project created in the history of the City of Windcrest (the "City") and the Windcrest Economic Development Corporation (the "WEDC").
In early 2006, the City and the WEDC began working with local and state leaders to revitalize the Walzem Road Corridor and transform Windsor Park Mall, an abandoned shopping mall with 1.2 million square feet of space on 68 acres, into what is now the corporate headquarters of international cloud computing giant, Rackspace Hosting, Inc. This project encompasses many different aspects of investing in the future of Windcrest. This project included an economic incentive program for Rackspace Hosting, Inc. to take over the mall, which included property tax abatement, expedited permitting and review, TEF grant funding, Skills Development grant funding, General Contractor Tax Abatement as well as infrastructure improvements. This project was extremely important in that it was the first time that the State, County and two municipalities came together to create a project of this magnitude.
However in 2009, the project experienced some major chanllenges when allegations of fraud began to surface with a lawsuit being filed by Rackspace Hosting alleging Ronnie Cain, former Windcrest City Manager and his brother Gary Cain, a real estate developer, fraudulently received $2.8 million from a $5 million escrow account funded by the company for the City and the WEDC to use for much needed infrastructure improvements to the new corporate campus, more specifically a roadway project known as the Racker Road Project. The Cain brothers were arrested in early 2010 and later indicted in November 2010. The trial is still pending.
With funds missing from the escrow account, the City and the WEDC could not proceed with the infrastructure improvements, a situation that began to strain the relationship with Rackspace, its largest employer and corporate citizen. As a result, in early 2011, under the leadership of a new City Administration lead by Mayor Alan Baxter and a new WEDC Board of Directors lead by Board President Tim Maloney, the City and the WEDC intervened in the Rackspace Hosting lawsuit and is suing Gary Cain and other defendants for fraud, seeking unspecified financial damages. In addition, the City and the WEDC applied for and received a Texas Leverage Fund (TLF) Loan from the State of Texas for $1.6 million which is currently being utilized toward the construction of the Racker Road Project, a $3.2± million project. The TLF Loan is for a 15 year term and pledges a portion of the sales tax revenues the WEDC receives for economic development.
In June 2011, the WEDC hired Don McCrary & Associates as the project engineer to design all streets and related improvements for the Racker Road Project and later engaged the firm as the full-time onsite inspector for the project. The project consists of 5,900 LF of new streets, associated curbs, sidewalks, approaches, retaining walls, street illumination, traffic signals, water and sewer lines. The project was put out for bids and bids were opened in mid-November 2011. A contract was signed on December 5, 2011 with J3 Company LLC for $3,197,303, the lowest of three bids submitted. The City and the WEDC will pay $2,805,671 of the total, plus any change orders, and Rackspace will contribute $391,632, plus any change orders, for the development of a park, park road, landscaping, lighting and sprinkler system. Construction began on the Racker Road Project in the Spring of 2012 and is near completion with an expected completion date of mid to late January 2013.