Saturday, September 29, 2012
Is Museum Tower experimenting with different glass?
The developers took out an ad in the DMN to talk about potential solutions.
DOWNTOWN DALLAS I was downtown with my mother-in-law this week, and I said to her, look at Museum Tower: It looks to me like they are experimenting with different panes of glass, perhaps to solve the re-flectivity issue. No confirmation, but it sure looked that way to this evil eye. Then today, a very smart move by the developers: an open letter in the Dallas Morning News saying they are looking for a solution to the re-flectivity issue, but not saying what it is, or who will pay for it. If you subscribe, Robert Wilonsky has the story here. Basically, the letter comprises the entire back page of the Business section, a substantial ad investment but hey, that’s one way to make sure the reporters aren’t going to exaggerate or get snarky mean-spirited, as they can do, as they have done on this issue. Wilonsky notes:
While the missive from the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (addressed to “our Future Residents, Neighbors, Art Lovers and Citizens of Dallas”) says much has been written about “sunlight reflection from Museum Tower’s glass surface,” not once does it use the words “Nasher” or “Sculpture” or “Center.” And while it says fixes are being examined and tested, not once does it say who will pay for those “promising potential solutions” or even what they may be.
The letter says this:
Since construction began, much has been reported about sunlight reflection from Museum Tower’s glass surface. Prior to construction, Museum Tower’s design plans were open for comprehensive public review and approved by the City of Dallas. Museum Tower is in compliance with every city code. However, it’s not uncommon for bold projects like Museum Tower to encounter an unexpected issue or two, and they are invariably solved.
Our number one priority is finding the best solution to the reflection issue. Over the last year, Museum Tower’s owner, the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, engaged the most prominent optical experts in North America to study this challenge. A team of architects, engineers, and material and construction experts evaluated more than 20 ideas. Today, the most promising potential solutions are undergoing exhaustive testing with the highest standards of science and technology being applied.
This letter reflects, pardon my pun, exactly what I have heard in the real estate community. Sales at other downtown high-rises have been brisk as buyers may have postponed a Museum Tower purchase now pending this re-flectivity outcome. Agents tell me their clients are worried about lawsuits. However, I do know sales are happening at Museum Tower by buyers who have confidence in the developers and original development team. It’s a complex issue, but they are right: Architecturally bold projects like Museum Tower can run into unexpected problems that may not be solved overnight, but they do get resolved. And in the process, we will learn something about this complex eco system upscale urban buyers crave: an energy-efficient environment that is still wide-open to the elements, a sun room in the sky that filters the damaging elements of the universe’s most powerful star, the sun.
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