AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Teacher Retirement System of Texas once again faced questions from lawmakers over the agency’s Indeed Tower lease during a state House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services committee meeting Monday.
This time, it was state Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) who questioned TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie over subleasing in the Indeed Tower and the uncertainty of the 2021 market, when the lease is scheduled to begin.
KXAN first reported in January that rent in the Indeed Tower would cost at least $326,000 a month.
“I’ve asked the Attorney General’s Office to come up with a way to cancel this particular contract,” Gutierrez said. “I would suggest that we do it now.”
“We’re looking at all options in that regard,” Guthrie countered. “We’re working with the Indeed Tower and the company very closely in these negotiations.”
However, Guthrie’s presentation to the House committee noted that TRS “does not have the unilateral right” to terminate the lease. Moreover, the agency would have to pay the brokerage cost – about 6% – to sublease the space.
And all that’s assuming TRS finds another tenant. They’re still on the hook to pay rent without a sublease.
“If we can get out now, we need to get out now,” Gutierrez told KXAN after Monday’s meeting. “We have to be stewards at every level, not just at TRS.”
TRS provided KXAN with this statement Monday:
TRS would like to thank Chairman Murphy and the members of the Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services Committee for the opportunity to have an open discussion of our long term space planning effort. We remain dedicated to ensuring transparency and open lines of communication with our members and the Legislature. Following our Board’s Feb. 20 decision to keep our investment team at their existing offices, we are actively committed to subleasing the space at Indeed Tower before the lease starts in March 2021.