A public information request by KXAN in mid-January revealed the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas is locked into a 10-year lease spending at least $326,000 per month on rent in downtown Austin.
The lease is for three floors in Austin’s Indeed Tower — which is currently being constructed, with completion planned for March 2021.
TRS committed to the lease, reportedly, to avoid the volatility of the rent. The organization’s Investment Management Division team, which will be moving to the Indeed Tower location in 2021, is out of space at its Congress Avenue location.
TRS also stated it has outgrown its Red River Street building.
Per the lease agreement, TRS will be spending $326,200.88 from months five through 16 of the agreement — eventually reaching $383,391.94 for months 113 through 124.
TRS executive director, Brian Guthrie, told KXAN, “Today, 18 months later, those lease rates are well below current rents for comparable space in Austin’s tight rental market.”
Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, told the Statesman in reaction, “People are just mad, and they don’t understand how (the retirement system) could be spending this much money on a lease.”
Texas lawmakers plan to hold a pair of hearings on the matter. The House committee overseeing pensions and financial services will hold a hearing in March.
And Lt. Governor Dan Patrick directed the Senate Finance Committee to address the issue at its February 25 hearing that already had TRS-related matters on the agenda.
TRS serves nearly 1.5 million people and has over 600 employees.
Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.