As debt rises, Travis County considers new downtown office building

As Travis County leaders weigh whether to build a new downtown court administration building for as much as $60 million, questions have emerged about how to pay for it, and whether it’s needed at all.  The debate comes after county commissioners in recent years have issued more than $100 million in bonds without voter approval, and as the commissioners are considering building a costly downtown civil courthouse.

The county’s debt from non-voter-approved bonds has more than tripled from $68.8 million in 2005 to $226 million this month.  In the few public discussions — many have occurred behind closed doors — of the proposed seven-story, 130,000 square-foot office building at the corner of San Antonio and West 11th streets, commissioners have not questioned its need. It would mostly house the district attorney’s offices and would be the county’s first downtown construction project in more than a decade.


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