Still, converting an ice rink to office space is a stretch.That's what Lucian Morehead, a senior associate with CB RichardEllis in Austin, is trying to do with the ice rink at NorthcrossMall. The switch is part of a transformation from mall to amixed-use office, retail and conference center at the mall onAnderson Lane in north Austin.

"This type of project hasn't been done in Austin, TX," he says."On this type of scale, I don't think it's ever been done."

It will take, he says, "a little bit more creativity." That'ssomething Austin companies have in abundance. In south Austin,Hire.com Inc. has converted the former Austin Opera House tooffices for its headquarters and in north Austin, Hoover's Onlineis set up in a former Mrs. Baird's Bread bakery.

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