Downtown Albuquerque has had some big wins this year. More breweries are opening in the urban core, new apartments and a grocery store are being built, and Molina Healthcare of New Mexico transitioned 800 employees to its new headquarters near City Hall.
Now, Rural Sourcing Inc., which announced yesterday it would open a development center in Albuquerque, has its eyes set on Downtown.
“We need something in the next few weeks,” said RSI chief operating officer Ingrid Miller.
She said the company is looking for a temporary location between 5,000 and 7,000 square feet. It’ll use that space to hire its first tech employees.
During the set up, the company is shopping for a larger, permanent place, either for lease or for sale that could house about 125 employees in all. Miller said RSI has hired Scott Throckmorton with ARGUS Investment Realty to find a space.
Gov. Susana Martinez said yesterday that the company will use $250,000 in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds for building improvements. Additionally, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said the city will contribute $250,000 if the company moves Downtown.
The $500,000 that’s potentially available in building improvements has property owners interested.
RSI CEO Monty Hamilton told Business First’s sister paper Atlanta Business Chronicle that the company seeks out older historic buildings in downtown areas for its software development centers and then renovates them into workplaces with a “hip, cool vibe.”
“Being a part of that revitalization…is a central part of our business model,” Hamilton said.
RSI’s Atlanta-based headquarters are in the historic Biltmore Hotel. Its Augusta offices are located in a renovated mill. And the company is a year into the process of renovating a historic 1930s Buick dealership for its offices in Mobile, Alabama.
The pressure for Downtown Albuquerque stakeholders is whether it could deliver a renovated space by January, which is when the company is aiming to be in its new center.
“It’s definitely aggressive,” Miller said. “We’re hoping to find something that’s kind of 90 days to move in. We’ve toured a bunch already and there are some options that would definitely require a year of renovation.”
RSI’s requirements are pretty specific. The company needs to start with about 7,000 square feet of space, with the possibility of later expanding to 15,000 square feet. It also needs a kitchen and a room for entertainment. Much like other tech companies, Miller said RSI employees can take a break to play video games or use a foosball table.
Miller said the company wants to find the right space, and aren’t trying to rush into buying something.
“We’ve seen some things we think we could turn around somewhat quickly, but if our hearts are won over by a building, [renovation] is something we’re not afraid to do,” Miller said.
By: Stephanie Guzman (Albuquerque Business First)
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