Will the Administrative Changes at the Police & Fire Pension System Expedite a Solution to the Glare Debate?


Jo and I are in Houston at the National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference. We just heard the keynote speaker’s presentation on commercial building trends by C. Hastings “Hasty” Johnson, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hines. He mentioned that building materials of the future might include unique glass for highrise buildings, including a glass that gets darker as the light shines on it. An entire glass wall or building could in essence become a giant solar panel. This could lead to some legal issues down the road if your building, for example, blocked someone’s sunlight and view as you would also be blocking their source of energy.

Immediately we thought of Museum Tower in Dallas, and all the gleaming glass towers struggling with reflectivity issues from building with energy efficient glass. I tracked down Johnson briefly, who told me that Hines is working with Museum Tower to find a solution. His associate, George C. Lancaster, a Hines senior vice president, told me he was confident they would be able to find a solution to the glare issue.

He asked me if I had heard the news about the recent change at the Police & Fire Pension System leadership.

Oh yes, we’ve heard.

I think you are going to see a lot of changes now, he said. A lot of the problem has been PR, he added. That was an interesting comment because the public relations agency handling the funds PR, is also changing. According to Rudy Bush at The Dallas Morning News, the board also voted yesterday to end their contract with Spaeth Communications, effective immediately. When asked who would be handling the PR in the interim while a new firm is retained, Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman was quoted as saying, “I don’t know if we could do any worse”

Museum Tower units are selling.  There have been 10 closings in the past 3 months and more solid activity is in the pipeline. Thus far, Museum Tower is 30 percent sold to highrise-loving residents after launching the luxury condominium sales last January.