This morning in a press conference hosted by Mayor McFarlane the city announced that Red Hat would officially keep its headquarters in Raleigh and take over the former Progress Energy Building.
For the city, this marks a shifting tide, the opposite of when IBM left many downtown Raleigh buildings for RTP. The tech company's headquarters contrasts with Progress Energy in several aspects, growth potential, work force demographics, and cultural values. Redhat forecasts 540 new jobs in Raleigh over the next decade- and those jobs are the type of young educated professionals that bolster a city's retail and real estate. But the cultural values are something the city is salivating for- hoping to co-op into its own brand. The Chamber of Commerce hired local branding experts New Kind this fall to develop branding for Raleigh - that brand is something along the lines of "The Open Source City."
The city's announcement of the Red Hat move focuses more on why Raleigh is open source than the economic impact of the headquarter relocation.
That openness, is something the city is waking up to after years of creative culture propagated by groups like DesignBox and SPARKcon- the innovative nuclei for culture in the city. After what would be considered initial lukewarm support the city has gone so far as to cite both CityCamp and SPARKcon in their announcement of the Red Hat headquarters. While you may have your opinions on the specifics of the brand, there is no denying the city's aggressive adoption of existing cultural institutions in an effort to 'prove' the new brand. The official release goes on to say that "The City of Raleigh is also planning to implement open source philosophies and strategies in an effort to make collaboration and transparency with the community a priority." The reality is, brands aren't built over night, and Raleigh has a long way to becoming that open source city - that will be achieved with real transparency over time and across departments.