By Bob Sechler
Originally published Jan. 24, 2020
The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has disclosed partial costs of its office lease in an upscale high-rise under construction in downtown Austin, seven months after the American-Statesman first asked for financial details about it and the state agency sought to keep it secret.
The starting base lease rate disclosed by the retirement system — which has an investment relationship with one of the developers of the 36-story Indeed Tower going up on West Sixth Street — equates to about $326,000 per month initially.
That rate is below the current average for top-end office space downtown, according to local real estate experts. However, it’s well above the amounts paid for most state office leases in Austin.
Advocates for government transparency have said the lease’s total cost should be disclosed, because such a detail about a state agency’s operations — how much it pays in office rent — is information that taxpayers have a right to know. TRS manages retirement benefits for about 1.6 million current and former Texas teachers and school employees.