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Texas teachers’ pension fund buys new Austin office building

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Rendering of 1900 Aldrich Street and Texas Teachers Retirement System’ Board Chair Jarvis V. Hollingsworth (LinkedIn, Shorenstein)

The Texas teacher’s pension fund is leaving its longtime downtown Austin headquarters for a shiny new apple of a building in the nearby Mueller community.

The Teachers Retirement System purchased the newly built, six-story Alpha Building from San Francisco-based Shorenstein. Designed by Page Sutherland Page, the building has approximately 210,000 square feet of office space with 35,000 to 50,000-square-foot floor plates, 14-foot ceilings and outdoor spaces on each floor. There’s also a landscaped courtyard at ground level.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Texas is one of 12 U.S. states where real estate sale prices are not made available to the public.

The purchase and move will put TRS in the Mueller Business District, about four miles from downtown Austin. Mueller is a 750-acre, master-planned, mixed-use community built on the site of the city’s old airport.

Shorenstein plans four more buildings totalling 800,000 square feet in the Mueller Business District. Next up is the Bravo Building, with 250,000 square feet of offices that TRS has already committed to. Divisions of the agency will move into the Alpha Building in spring 2023. The rest of its staff will move into the Bravo Building upon its completion, expected in 2024.

TRS has been operating out of its original Austin building—a low-rise concrete affair that has been labeled both brutalist and “new formalist” in style, at 1300 Red River Street—since 1973. A second building was added to the 3.2-acre site in 1990. The agency will likely sell the site, which is on a prime downtown corner and should command a premium price.

The TRS Mueller purchases will allow the agency to consolidate its staff in one building as well as add to the pension fund’s portfolio. According to its website, TRS had 13 percent of its assets, or $22 billion, in real estate as of August 2020.