City Selling Its Downtown HPD Headquarters, Preventing Jailer Layoffs

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For sale or lease: HPD HQ
Houston will look to sell or lease the downtown police headquarters as part of a deal that will keep HPD from having to lay off 273 jailers, Mayor Annise Parker announced today.

The city and the HPD pension plan also agreed to allow the city to defer payment of $17 million of its 2012 payment obligation and another $8.5 million in 2013.

"This allows us to avoid laying off any police officers or jailers," Parker said. "Like the Houston Police Officers' Union, HPOPS understands the gravity of what the city is facing and has been willing to work with us on finding solutions. 1200 Travis is not functional and we were already beginning discussions regarding its potential sale and the need for a new police headquarters. We can use the equity in that asset to help us bridge the budget gap for FY2012."

The city has been talking about moving out of 1200 Travis and 61 Riesner for years, but not much has come of it.

Maybe this time will be different.

The agreement with HPOPS [the pension plan] requires the city to put 1200 Travis on the market for sale/lease back in January 2012. The deferred payments would be paid back to HPOPS at 8.5 percent interest from the proceeds of the sale of the building, or earlier if the City so elects. This interest rate represents the required return on all HPOPS investments and inures to the City's benefit as it must fund the system in any event.

"We have a demonstrated track record of working with the city," said HPOPS Vice Chairman Ralph Marsh.

The deal comes on the heels of an agreement with the firefighters, one that also precluded layoffs.

The 273 jailers who would have been laid off are civilians, but would have had to be replaced by HPD officers, the city said.

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