When Brian Walker, director, Cushman & Wakefield Austin, first began working with Hack Reactor, they had just incorporated as MakerSquare with around five staff members, 15 students, and no space in which to hold the Austin coding bootcamp. Adding to the challenge, he had three weeks to bring it all together before the first class began: understand their business and real estate needs, identify the ideal space, negotiate business terms, review and negotiate the lease, and assist with the process of building out and moving into the space. Classes started successfully within a week of move-in.
That first space was 4,600 SF on Congress Ave. near the Capitol— a first and second floor office with front-facing retail space and coveted outdoor branding. According to Walker, “This was by far one of my favorite client requirements—I was presented with a difficult challenge, figured out how to make it work quickly and exceed my client’s expectations.”
Because Walker was able to secure a flexible lease term at a rate below market value, the pressure on the start-up’s finances was drastically lessened.
Success soon followed and more room was quickly needed to accommodate the growth, including almost two years at the incubator co-working space, Capital Factory, located in Austin Center in the burgeoning downtown tech corridor. In 2016, Hack Reactor came to Walker once again with the mandate to find a much larger space, but this time it needed to not only accommodate immediate needs but also allow for future expansion. With the top coding program in the country and demand for software engineers at an all-time high, Hack Reactor needed a physical space that would accommodate sustained growth.
Austin Waldo, business operations specialist, Hack Reactor Austin, was Walker’s main point of contact and tasked with facilitating the entire relocation: defining their real estate needs, selecting the site, designing the interior of the space, working with contractors, and even building some of the furniture (he’s a woodworker). “It was critical that we stay in the tech corridor and near Capital Factory,” he said. “We have a great relationship with them and the start-ups who utilize their co-working space. As our students graduate it’s a natural transition to employment at the same companies we call friends and neighbors.”
Walker was able to negotiate an attractive lease for the entire 6,800 SF 5th floor of 800 Brazos St. In addition to ample space and a great location, Hack Reactor needed a container to support students through an intense, career-transforming educational experience. Walker found them a perfect fit.
“Our new space has it all,” Waldo continued. “Great food, entertainment and amenities within easy walking distance for employees and students; easy access to I-35; affordable parking options; and proximity to high-tech employers.”
For Walker, this move was different than the others because he knew that accommodating longer-term growth was a priority for his client. “I wanted to find them the perfect space that they would love now and in years to come,” he said.
He added that not only is it cost-effective in terms of monthly rent, utilities and operating expenses, but the building management is onsite and eager to work with tenants. “The management has been extremely accommodating to our build-out of the space,” Waldo added. “Having a space where the staff loves coming to work and students feel energized during long and intense days of learning is critical to our long-term success.”
Retail According to Waldo, Hack Reactor couldn’t be happier with their new space, “It works so well for us!” he proclaimed. “It has a relaxed, open, start-up vibe that fosters collaboration and a strong community. The staff and students really enjoy being here. Plus it’s poised to support our growth plan.” Part of that growth will come in part to a new partnership with the University of Texas to offer financial aid to students of the program. The end result will be even
more highly-skilled tech workers moving into great jobs and driving the Austin economy to even greater heights.
Waldo summarized by saying, “Brian Walker has been a key ally in helping Hack Reactor become the best in the business. His experience with tech companies of all sizes and our long partnership gives him a deep and invaluable understanding of our needs. The results are clearly demonstrated by our continued growth and success at producing the best software engineers in Austin.”