Greg Greene, one of the developers of Museum Tower, has told Candace Carlisle at the Dallas Business Journal that “ownership wants to financially step up to fix the tower’s glare inside the galleries at the Nasher Sculpture Center.” But then he added, agreeing on a solution could take more time. And it looks as though that solution is the $5 million we told you last week that MT has offered to completely change out the Nasher’s roof. And also, note that Greene used the term “air space”:
“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances, but those oculi are pointed right at our air space,” Greg Greene, a development partner at Dallas-based Turtle Creek Holdings Inc. told the Dallas Business Journal Tuesday during an exclusive tour of the property. “They were here first, but they don’t have the right to take someone’s air space,” Greene told me (Candace Carlisle). “Why isn’t theDallas Museum of Art complaining or anyone else complaining? Because they have a solid roof and they don’t have oculi pointed at our air space. That’s the problem and that’s what needs to be fixed.”
Recall Museum Tower officials presented a solution to foot the bill to reconfigure the oculi on the Nasher roof to point away from the new high-rise, which would essentially return the lighting in the Nasher to pre-Museum Tower conditions.
I caught up with Dallas agent Scott Deakins, who has sold a lot of Arts District condos, for his take on Museum Tower’s generous proposal, a proposal Greene told the DBJ would reduce profitability of the project somewhat.
CD: So Scott, you’ve been out of town, and you come back in and hear the news about Museum Tower’s offer to re-do essentially the Nasher’s roof. Were you surprised?
SD: It’s good to be back. Paris says hi, btw! No, I’m not surprised, this situation gets dumb and dumber. All you can do is roll your eyes. Last year they asked the Nasher to grow taller trees ( to offset the glare) and now they want to replace the roof, which in itself is a significant architectural detail. Give me a break.
CD: I’m particularly interested in your views since you have sold so many homes in the Arts District, and you live there (right?) This doesn’t seem reasonable to you? Why not?
SD: Yes, I live in the Arts District and no, it is not reasonable for a variety of reasons; why punish the victim in all of this? The Nasher didn’t ask for this.
Also, this is not just hurting the museum part of the Nasher-what about the loss of the landscape in the sculpture garden? What about the loss of the James Turrell Skyspace installation (see below). This problem also affects Klyde Warren Park, drivers on Woodall Freeway. I have calls all the time from clients at One Arts complaining about the glare from the building from the morning (eastern) sun. This is a 360 degree problem.
CD: You told me that a recent article in the New York Times by Wil Hylton almost mourned for Skyspace – and that everyone who wants to understand the function of light should read this: “One of my favorite Turrell pieces is the Skyspace “Tending (Blue),” which is inside a small stone building behind the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. To reach the piece, you pass through a Renzo Piano-designed building filled with northern light, then you cross the clean, clear lines of a landscape by Peter Walker. By the time you enter the Skyspace, the city of Dallas is long forgotten. I once lost the better part of a day inside, staring up as clouds lofted and flattened against the ceiling. But last year, a mirrored skyscraper went up nearby, reflecting glare into the building, killing plants in the garden and looming into view of the Skyspace. The museum had to close it.
SD: Yes! I wanted your followers, real estate developers and consumers, to see the New York Times piece because of the significant loss of the much loved James Turrell Skyspace thanks to the intrusion of Museum Tower. The loss is permanent! Also, what are readers of the Times all over the world going to take away from this article about Dallas – that selling condos is more important than our culture and love of the arts? My point is MT is hurting ALL aspects of the Nasher, not just the building.
CD: But the building is there, and it was approved by the City, and those homes need to be sold.
SD: You’re right, the condos do need to be sold for the good of the Arts District and the city. It has been my experience that people choose to live in the Arts District because of their love of surroundings. Right now Museum Tower does not love its surroundings. Five sales in three years is hardly something to beat your chest about. Museum Tower is a fine building and there is a huge market for the condos, from local as well as international buyers. Sales are not going to increase until MT does something pro-actively about this. The problem has always been the skin of the building.
When Graham Greene sold the land to the original MT developers it was with the understanding that any structure built on the site would have height restrictions and would not use reflective glass. Graham is an architect and as such thinks about things like light and the surroundings. I can’t imagine the powers that be at MT didn’t know this was going to be a problem
CD: So what is a solution ?
SD: The solutions are expensive for sure. But as it stands this 200+ million dollar building is completed and sitting mostly empty. For a moment Museum Tower need to not think about commerce and commissions but instead think about what is good for the city it occupies. It is something that we try and teach our children at a very young age-do the right thing! Throwing in the golden rule wouldn’t hurt either.