As 2020 draws to a close, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has yet to offload a luxury office lease that drew stark criticism earlier this year.

Established in 1937, the Teacher Retirement System provides retirement and related benefits for more than 1.6 million Texas teachers, college professors, and other educational employees. It is supported by the State of Texas and manages a $150 billion trust fund established to finance member benefits. TRS is the largest public retirement system in Texas and the sixth-largest public pension fund in the U.S.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that TRS had signed a 10-year lease for three floors of office space at Indeed Tower, a highly sought-after location for companies seeking extravagant downtown accommodations in close proximity to the city’s bar district.

The cost of the space was a staggering $326,000 a month.

Once their lavish lease was revealed, criticism poured in from teachers and taxpayers at large, who railed against the move at a time when the solvency of TRS retirement payouts is a perennial problem during state legislative sessions.

Public pressure from citizens and lawmakers forced TRS to reverse its decision in February, and trustees voted to remain at their current location and sublease the space at Indeed Tower instead.

But the economic downturn resulting from government-ordered shutdowns in response to the Chinese coronavirus has made that task difficult.

A spokesman for TRS told Texas Scorecard the organization continues to look for a subtenant at this time.

During a recent meeting, TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie said commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield was continuing to “aggressively market” the space, adding that there had been “multiple inquiries” about the location and tours had been conducted for possible sublessees.

TRS is up against the clock. Indeed Tower is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021, and the lease payments are scheduled to begin in June.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens