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Inside Look at the City of Austin Checkbook: Contractual Rental Properties

By Blue Canaries

There are many entries listed on the checkbook at the City of Austin Finance Online, but some stand out as excessive and require an explanation as to why the City of Austin would have so many rental properties on the books. According to the Travis County Appraisal District, the City of Austin owns many properties throughout the area, so why would they have a need to rent so many properties?

⦁ 1. Casa Marco TX III LLC is listed as a real estate rental under the Austin Energy Department. The initial payment of $20k was distributed on 09/19/2016 under the fund: E-Transmission Capital. The physical address for Casa Marco is 201 W. Howard Lane, but there was no listing for a City of Austin occupant at this address. They have continued to receive a $10k monthly payment since 2016.

Casa Marco had this article written about their move from LA to Texas:

https://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/real-estate/2014/01/mystery-deal-why-did-l-a-company-buy-huge-austin.html

⦁ 2. Barton Oaks Plaza V, LP is a real estate rental, but it is not listed under any specific department for the City of Austin. An initial payment of more than $250k was paid on 10/12/2018, rent was $89k for a couple of months, but now tops out more than $94k monthly payment for rent.

The City of Austin Transportation Office lists their physical address as 901 S. Mopac Expressway, Bldg 5, Suite 300, which is the same address as Barton Plaza Oaks. This one is on my list of places to visit in Austin now. At more than $90k in monthly rent, it surely must be impressive.

⦁ 3. Icon Newco Pool 6 Austin LLC is another real estate rental which is not listed under any specific department for the City of Austin. An initial payment of more than $33k was paid on 04/22/2015, rent was more than $16k for a couple of months, but now tops out more than $37k monthly payment for rent.

Icon Newco Pool 6 Austin LLC is a real estate investment company based out of Chicago, IL. There are 6 property listings for this specific name listed under Travis County Appraisal District. There were no City of Austin offices located at these locations.

⦁ 4. Board of Regents of the University of Texas System is a real estate rental, but it is not listed under any specific department for the City of Austin. Monthly payments of $41,472.00 began on 09/20/2017 and have remained the same each month since.

The Board of Regents does lease out portions of this property; however, there were no City of Austin Departments listed at this address.

⦁ 5. Silicon Laboratories is listed as a real estate rental under the Office of the City Auditor. The initial payment of more than $37k was distributed on 03/05/2018 under the fund: Support Services Fund. They continue to lease this property, even though the monthly payment is now over $40k a month.

It should not come as a surprise that the Office of the City Auditor for the City of Austin is more than $40k a month. After all, who is going to investigate the Auditor’s Office?

This is just a drop in the bucket for the City of Austin. Their checkbook is full of surprises and I am only getting started.

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