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AUSTIN-In the early 1990s, Texas state government gobbled up three newly built Austin office buildings in which to house various agencies. That’s not likely to happen now, at least in the short term.

For one thing, the Legislature hasn’t authorized such purchases. And, although the state has issued bids for nearly 150,000 sf of space in the past month, it holds little of hope of eating up the growing amount of open Austin office space through leasing. It might, however, rearrange some of its space.

“At this time our agency is expecting to coordinate the renewal of numerous existing leases during the next two-year period in Austin,” says Randall Riley, executive director of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, formerly known as the General Services Commission. “We do not anticipate any significant increase in actual space used.”

The state has 452,928 sf up for renewal through April 2003. It plans to put 6,300 sf of that total in state-owned office space. Overall, the state leases 3.2 million sf in Austin, most of it office space.

While the amount of sublease space is growing, it stands at 2.9 million sf, according to the latest Buls/Hodge report. There are several new office buildings coming online in the next few months.

About a decade ago, the state bought at least three CBD office buildings on the heels of the S&L disaster. The buildings were the three-building Republic Plaza complex at Third Street between Lavaca and Guadalupe streets. The 399,000-sf complex was named after former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and houses in state’s Department of Insurance. The 94,000-sf Guaranty Federal Plaza at 208 E. 10th St. houses the treasury department. The 392,000-sf William Clements building at 15th and Lavaca streets is home to the attorney general’s offices. It was formerly known as One Capitol Square.

Purchases of the new crop of office buildings would have to wait until 2003 when the Legislature convenes for its next session. Currently, “Our agency does not have any legislative authority or directive to either to buy or build any office space in Austin during this current biennium,” Riley tells GlobeSt.com.

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