Tax-preparation software company TaxSlayer will renovate one of downtown’s oldest buildings into a modern workspace to better foster the area’s growing cyber economy, making room for more than 600 jobs in the Augusta area.
The Evans-based nationwide firm released new details Tuesday about how it plans to use the former downtown Family Y. TaxSlayer bought the 94-year-old building at 945 Broad St. in June.
The company is renaming the building its Innovation and Technology Campus, and expects to open it for business next spring.
“This new building is both a testament to our rapid growth as a technology company and our commitment to Augusta,” TaxSlayer President and CEO Brian Rhodes said. “We want to create a culture that drives innovation to help make our customers’ lives easier. The building design will be focused on inspiring our product, marketing and customer experience teams to create breakthrough new services and attract top talent to the city, which is another reason why we’re excited to be part of Augusta’s technology boom.”
TaxSlayer’s investment in downtown development stakes a claim in the new Augusta Innovation Zone. The Zone is a partnership of investors, including former Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, focused on converting two other downtown buildings into business accelerators to found and grow tech startups.
The two Innovation Zone properties – the old Woolworth Building and the Johnson Building – face Broad Street, and are on opposite sides of Broad’s intersection with Eighth Street.
TaxSlayer plans a renovation of its 40,000-square-foot building emphasizing what it describes as a “collaboration-centered workspace design.”
The design follows the office trend of getting workers out of stuffy, isolating cubicles.
“TaxSlayer’s Innovation and Technology Campus will be designed to encourage collaboration through ‘personal pods’ where employees can readily interact with each other, but still maintain a sense of privacy,” said TaxSlayer Chief Marketing Officer Chris Moloney. “There will also be impromptu meeting spaces and collaboration spaces that will incorporate touchscreen, interactive technologies where team members across offices and departments can easily interact on new company products and ideas.”
TaxSlayer also revealed how it plans to redistribute its employees at their two business locations.
The company built its corporate headquarters, a five-story building in Evans, in 2012. The Evans location soon will exclusively house TaxSlayer’s customer service teams, and will be renamed the Customer Excellence Center.
The company’s senior leadership, product, technology and marketing teams will relocate downtown.
TaxSlayer expects record growth in tax e-files, estimating more than 10 million state and federal returns for 2017 – a 200-percent increase over the past three years. To accommodate that, the company plans to hire nearly 300 local workers during the tax season of December through April.
TaxSlayer’s two buildings will be able to accommodate more than 600 workers.
The planned tech growth downtown reflects a growing cybersecurity boom in the Augusta area.
Augusta University broke ground in June for the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center, to promote modernization in cybersecurity and to groom cyber professionals for the workplace.
Fort Gordon is home to the Army’s Cyber Center of Excellence, which operates the U.S. military’s largest communications and cybersecurity training centers. By 2020 the fort is expected to be the new home of the Army’s Cyber Command, now located at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Both the fort’s and AU’s cyber development is expected to bring thousands more people to the Augusta area in the next several years.
Reach Joe Hotchkiss at (706) 823-3543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.