Jungle Disk, a cybersecurity services firm, will move its offices to a former restaurant in Southtown, which it is redeveloping to feature dozens of solar panels.
Bret Piatt, the company’s CEO, said the renovations to the space have been designed with pandemic-era sensibilities, seeking to entice wary workers to come back to a collaborative, in-person environment.
“What does the next office space look like?” Piatt said the conversation at the company began. “Even with COVID dying down and access to vaccines, folks still don’t want to be packed in a conference room with no windows for two hours.”
The design by architects Able City places a heavy emphasis on an outdoor patio, connected to the interior by doors that will stay open during good weather. Piatt said the outdoor space could be active for nine months out of the year. Even the summer heat could be tamed with shade cover and fans.
Piatt also said the building designs fits “as much solar [panels] as we could.” The panels, which will cover the outdoor patio as well as the building’s roof, go alongside high ceilings, natural window placement, landscaping, and other energy-efficient designs.
“We thought about how to make the building energy sustainable and appropriate for this piece of land,” he said.
The property, at the corner of West Drexel Avenue and South Presa Street, was formerly a Mexican restaurant and sits next to an auto shop and a floral shop. It’s also near two coffee shops and a brewery, the proximity to which Piatt said would be a plus for Jungle Disk employees. “Our folks want the office to be part of a community,” he said.
U.S. Census Bureau demographic figures from 2019 for the zip code, 78210, show that 83% of residents are Hispanic and nearly 20% of families are living in poverty.
County records show the property was purchased in February last year by Porthcawl Holdings, the private equity firm that bought Jungle Disk from Rackspace in 2016, and which last year powered its expansion. The property is zoned as a general industrial district.
Jungle Disk, which Piatt said employs 30-40 individuals in San Antonio and 120 globally, is currently headquartered out of an office space on Soledad Street downtown, roughly within the city’s nascent tech district, a cluster of tech ventures along Houston Street that is home to the Geekdom co-working space, Scaleworks, and other enterprises. Last year a partner at Dry Line, one of Jungle Disk’s private equity backers, said the cybersecurity firm would likely move into another office in the tech district.
The planned office is about a 2-mile drive south of that corridor. “Our tech district is growing,” Piatt said. “While this feels far south for San Antonio, it’s a mile from South Presa to Hemisfair Park.”
David Heard, the CEO of Tech Bloc, an advocacy group for the city’s tech sector who has long pushed for the development of a dense tech corridor, said the real value of that downtown district is as an incubator for companies to start. But as those ventures grow, he said, the desire to own property would naturally push them into Southtown and beyond.
Heard praised the new office design as a beautiful example of the “varied developments we’re going to get as tech companies grow and mature.” He said it was a win for the city’s tech sector, and could help attract and retain industry talent in the city.
Piatt said that if construction happens on schedule, employees could begin working at the office by the end of the year or early next year.