Teamplay Ruled the Day on Rackspace Win at Walzem Road!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
August 21, 2007
In the interest of understanding the total team effort made to jump-start the long-languishing Windsor Mall site, I thought to submit this information. First of all, Bexar County could not be more pleased that Rackspace has decided not only to stay and grow in the County, but to become the long-desired catalyst for the renaissance of the Walzem Road corridor, whose sad decline from a once-vibrant economic corridor is well documented.
In addition to the City of San Antonio and the State of Texas, Bexar County has been a partner with the City of Windcrest. This consortium and others for several years have worked on strategies that would bring Walzem Road back to its original vitality. It was always clear that, unless the reuse of the old Windsor Park Mall site could be addressed, there wasn't much hope for bringing businesses back to the area. That is why I see the Rackspace announcement as perhaps the most crucial step in that partnership, but it seems the County's role is not well known.
The County's focus began in early 2005 with a series of meetings between myself and Mayor Leonhardt, as well as the County and Windcrest economic development staffs and the Walzem Road Area Revitalization leadership. These discussions were very fruitful and helped us to understand that the "dueling cities" nature of the relationship that existed at that time between San Antonio and Windcrest would have to be improved if the area had any hope of revitalization. For those not aware, Walzem Road is the dividing boundary between San Antonio and Windcrest.
As an enthusiastic partner to both sides, I have worked consistently with the last three San Antonio city council members that have represented that area to open a dialogue that ultimately, at least in part, made this Rackspace deal possible. We have also invested thousands of Bexar County dollars in the Windcrest area to ensure the area's residents and those business owners who were able to hold on through the lean times were brought in as stakeholders to the process. I along with several County staff, have attended numerous Saturday and evening meetings as active County participants pushing hard to turn this area around.
Most importantly, through several critical stages of the recent Rackspace negotiations, Bexar County's willingness to use our financial wherewithal in a novel way and our continued push to keep all the partners moving forward in a timely manner were essential. I can say with certainty: Without the County's innovative participation in the Rackspace incentives, this deal would have been nothing more than another "nice idea" for the reuse of the former Windsor Park Mall. The team has been terrific.
Finally, I am truly grateful to Graham Weston and the entire Rackspace management team for the courage and vision they bring to this project. I am proud too, of the leadership of both the City of Windcrest and of the City of San Antonio. Now, welcome to the neighborhood, Rackers! You're going to love it here!