Find a back issue

Museum Tower Takes Out Full-Page Ad in DMN

Museum Tower ad

The ad you see above runs on the back page of the Business section today. I find it curious for several reasons. First, it is interesting how the ad dances around the solution to the glare problem. As in: “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.” A more upfront and honest ad would read: “A team of architects, engineers, and material and construction experts evaluated more than 20 ideas. Today, we believe the best option is for the Nasher Sculpture Center to change its roof. We’ve told them that. They won’t listen.”

The other thing I find curious is that the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, which owns the building, would even buy an ad in the Morning News. They have made their distaste for the paper patently clear. As in: “Dallas Morning News reporters, and at least one other media organization in Dallas, have chosen to ignore the SPJ Code of Ethics, which they so fervently hold up as a shield of honor, and instead are pursuing advocacy journalism to serve the agenda of one side of this complex situation. The Dallas Morning News has engaged in a coordinated campaign to move public opinion toward the Nasher side of that agenda, because your own reporter openly stated he, and by projection your paper, hold the rule of law in disdain. The Dallas Morning News, by this unethical act, has declared its advocacy agenda to influence public opinion with such pejorative fervor against our client in an attempt to force them to change their building.” Why would you give money to an organization that you hold in such low regard? It is perplexing.

Finally, I take it that the mediator in this case, Tom Luce, has declared an end to the media blackout. Right? Because surely if the media blackout were still in place, we wouldn’t be seeing full-page ads in the Morning News.

I’ve reached out to the Nasher to see if they have a response to this ad. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear back from them.

31 comments on “Museum Tower Takes Out Full-Page Ad in DMN

  1. Are the Museum Tower units prices slashed in half yet?
    Possibly the first years homeowners dues will be paid by the developer.

  2. Tim — Unless you’re clinging to the side of a tall, reflective, incredibly overpriced and hubristic condominium tower, please, please, please (channeling James Brown) do not “reach out” to people or organizations. Just call or email them. Thank you.

  3. Yeah, Tim. Didn’t you get the memo? “Reach out to”? Really? Not so much. Officially jumped the shark, as it were. I’m just saying.

  4. Curious about Tim Roger’s analysis of the Museum Tower Ad. Does the Museum Tower not have the right to market its condos? How does that break some news media blackout? Or does Rogers, D-Magazine and the Dallas Morning News really wish to do harm to the Dallas Police officers and Fire Fighters who own this building through their pension system investments? It seems preventing sales of Museum Tower condos would suit Mr. Rogers just fine. Mr. Rogers says he is “perplexed that Museum Tower would place an ad in a newspaper that hold’s it in such low regard?” Since the Dallas Morning News and D-Magazine have taken sides against Museum Tower is that not the best place to put an ad that tells its own story and that the reflection issue is being worked on and will be solved? You complain when Museum Tower doesn’t talk and then complain when they do.

  5. @Deep Pool Diver

    That’s an interesting perception that the DMN or D wants to bring harm to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. I think there is a good case to the contrary. Few have failed to notice that a few individuals involved with the Museum Tower have persisted in overplaying their hands in public forums to the detriment of this project. In some instances, “going rogue” may be more apt description.

    The City of Dallas should be concerned about the quick resolution of this situation for many reasons: the reflected light from the tower poses danger to drivers traveling at high speeds (that is not a problem that can be fixed with a modification to Piano’s roof design), and for which Dallas and its taxpayers will be liable if an accident were to occur; the City has borrowed money from the Pension for at least one major highway program, if the pension fails, a source of funding for future projects evaporates; if the Pension fails, police officers and fire fighters will be left without a pension. Of the latter, that will adversely affect attitudes among people who are relied upon to provide assurances for civil society, and may dim prospects for future employment needs.

    In the end, as has been stated many times before, good will and care for the commons are the attributes that will fill the Museum Tower–not the glossy PR and bellicose statements made by detached architects and tough-talking lawyers. People who depend on the pension, the police and fire fighters, understand the principle of caring for the commons; it is yet to be seen if those who claim to work in the best interests of the Museum Tower get it in the same way.

    “Architecture has to be greater than just architecture. It has to address social values, as well as technical and aesthetic values.” Sambo Mockbee

  6. I have complete tired head from this deal. I have no cards in the game. I just don’t see how a company can build a beautiful glass building on the land they own and have to even have discussions with neighbors about how it is bringing them down. If you build a Museum in A DOWTOWN AREA don’t complain when someone builds an awesome high rise next to you. Placing an ad in the only city newspaper? How is this so shocking even if they hate them? Not many other ways to get the word out than advertising in the local paper.

  7. It’s frying the entire gardens, isn’t it? How will changing the roof of one building help with the magnifying glass effect this garishly shiny building is having on the whole area? This disingenuous ad will do far more harm than good, who are the using for PR and advertising? Let’s start a pool – how long will it be after completion til they change from sales to rentals? I say 90 days.

  8. @Sambo Mockbee. Get real, Museum Tower reflects light onto the highways alright, but so do a number ob buildings downtown, a large number. I have been nearly blinded by the beam from Chase Tower, from Fountain Place, from the curved front building (I think it is the new Hunt HQ). This is a city filled with tall glass buildings that reflect all over the place. Museum Tower is not the exception, it is the rule. When you try to save energy, as our nanny government has often tried to force upon us, you have to reflect the energy out of the buildings, and that what many do. By the way have you see that Piano building in London they call the Shard? Talk about a shinny thing. That puppy reflects a beam of sun light that puts all of Dallas to shame, and on yea, designed by the guy who designed the Nasher.

    And about the pension’s investment in Museum Tower, they stepped up and invested in this city at a time no one else was doing it. I don’t know how many jobs they have created so far from construction and the like, but I will bet they’ve pumped millions into our economy of Dallas that wouldn’t have been there without them. If you guys would play even close to fair and give these folks a chance I bet they would sell those condos and make money for the police officers and firefighters and the tax payers of Dallas.

    And about the reflection solutions, I don’t see that there is any quick solution. Rushing and just putting up something on the building seems dangerous to me, also foolish. Don’t you want a solution that will really fix the problem and last? Museum Tower says it has been looking at all kinds of things, and that the architects, engineers and science guys are doing their best to find something that works. Imagine what would happen if they put film on the windows and it started peeling off, like that stuff seems to always do. What a beautiful sight that would be from the Nasher, eh? You know how that stuff is replaced, try a single edge razor blade and some ding-dong hanging from a window washing rope scratching it off the window. Nope. How about those louvers you guys talk about. One good gust of wind in downtown Dallas, like we get all the time in storms, could blown one or two off and kill somebody.

    If you ask me, and I know you are not, we need to let the engineering people do their work and lay out the options when they are done. If the answer was easy, don’t you think it would have already been figured out and done? I say back off these people at Museum Tower and let them work it out with the experts. All this hot air just blows up balloons and makes people angry for no reason.

  9. Museum Tower is a too-hastily planned for-profit 42 story development that intended to exploit the 30 years of planning efforts by Dallas city leaders and philanthropists. No one wants it to fail. In fact, the Dallas Arts District is welcoming and collaborative. However, the utilization of the outdoor venues is altered by a highly reflective glass building that raises the ambient temperature of the area, blinds pedestrians and drivers and stresses green plantings. Those who have already invested in the area are being unfairly targeted by aggressive and dismissive tactics of the developers who are solely responsible for the choices that brought the negative issues.

  10. Um, Deep Pool Diver, perhaps you need to read the thing. It’s not really a real-estate ad — “look at the fine marble countertops in our kitchens!” Not with lines like: “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.”

    And not when the ad is expressly addressed to “arts lovers.” How many real estate ads have opened with a line like that?

    It’s a defense of the tower, plain and simple.

  11. Ummmm, @blue pencil. And your point? You mean to say Museum Tower does not have the right to market itself? If the “ad” is also a defense of “the tower,” which tells a much different story than we have been told in this place and in the Morning News, then so be it. And why not address their letter to “arts lovers” and others on that salutation? Who else is going to buy a condo there?

    @ StopTheGlare, you say the Museum Tower was “too-hastily planned?” Really? I just did a quick Google search, discovered the first planning done on the design by an outfit called Criswell Radovan started in 2006, 7 years ago. Lets see, 5 years in planning before they turned a shovel full of dirt? Yea, that’s hasty alright. Guess what? The Nasher and Mr. Strick was at the ground breaking for Museum Tower, in fact Mr. Strick toss a shovel full of dirt at the ground breaking. Bet you didn’t know that. You want us to believe they, the Nasher, knew nothing about the building’s plans and its glass? I am no expert on city procedure, but I have tried to modify my retaining wall and fence once, had to get a permit, had to notify my neighbors who got a chance at a hearing at city hall o say they didn’t like my retaining wall. I will bet you the city of Dallas review process for a tall structure like Museum Tower requires all kinds of hearings and public review. Where were the complaints then? Everybody, knew this was going to be a glass wrapped tower, the models and mock ups were in the paper (look it up on Google), yet no body said anything until after the thing was built?

    Look, there is a reflection down there no doubt, but I don’t see toasty trees or bushes or burnt grass at or around the Nasher or the new deck park. I have yet to see any real “experts” to convince me that is happening down there. I have walked around down there a lot, and recently, and I am just as bothered by the glare projecting off of the Chase building. What? You’ve never complained about that building. Oh, there is also a hot reflection off of the Fountain Place building, and the Hunt Building, and..and..and..reflections even from OneArts Plaza when the sun is in the west. Oh, you don’t see those? You don’t feel the heat from those? How convenient. Oh, how about that big orb in the sky about high noon, what a roaster that is with its direct light. Gotta call someone on that problem. God? You watching this dust up? Can you help? How about some clouds please.

    We all get the point, these folks building tall structures are trying to save on their utility bills by putting up glass skins to reflect the radiation coming from the sun. Museum Tower is just one of many downtown and up and down Central Expressway and on LBJ that reflect away the sun from their buildings. I guess “StopTheGlare” would just as soon tear down Museum Tower. Amazing all the experts here on D.

  12. @Kk. Who is Kk? Are you doing PR for the Nasher? I’m just one of the folks in this town tired of hearing about this frickin’ fight between you rich folks. You take shots at the Museum Tower and don’t even have all your facts right, but that should be expected. Just put something out there and say it enough and people will buy your line of BS. Not any more. Dallas Police officers and Firefighters own that building, by way of their pension system investments. It is a good and gorgeous building, more energy and environmentally responsible than anything else in Dallas. It will make a profit for the pension system, if you uninformed and well washed people will stop taking sides and let the scientists and engineers work out this problem. BTW, if the louver system idea was such a sure bet, ask your self why the German company Nasher supporters were counting on to prove louvers work backed out? Hmm?

    Frying the garden is it? Where is your proof? Haven’t got any do you? Have you been down there? I have, with my family, walked through the Nasher garden last week, had a great time and you know what? Not one toasted tree, bush or plant. We were well shaded under a canopy of very green trees, got lots of pictures of the kids hanging on the sculptures, surrounded by very green bushes and lots of bamboo. Have you noticed the grass and bamboo is growing so well? That’s because I learned from one of the helpful people there that the Nasher has a special deal with the city to let it water 3 times a day. Wish I could get that deal on my lawn.

    Maybe the Museum Tower people should hire me to do PR, seems they’ve got a hell of a good story to tell. From what I can tell Museum Tower likes the Nasher, why else would they build next door? And just think if you are right, and the engineers and scientists agree louvers are the best solution to deflect the reflection, there will be a 42 story tall building that looks like a jail or bird cage looming over the Nasher Gardens, won’t that be pretty?

  13. At the end of the day, I’m guessing the Pension Fund will end up taking a $100 million hit on this project.

    The role of the fund’s trustees is SUPPOSED to be straight forward: to maximize risk-adjusted returns for the good of the beneficiaries. In the case of Dallas Police & Fire, they’ve veered off course wildly into an ego-fueled program of vanity projects— many of which appear to have been driven by political interests.

    As a result, the fund’s investments are now dangerously over-concentrated in poorly conceived projects such as this one (which was passed over by every other potential funding source, even at the height of the real estate bubble). Pensioners and City of Dallas taxpayers will end up paying a high price for these reckless decisions.

  14. @Wylie H. You are “guessing?” That’s the problem about this whole Museum Tower/Nasher and Dallas Police and Fire Pension thing, you guys who have no real facts, no real inside information, so you just make up stuff and say “we don’t know, we are just guessing here.” Say it enough and people will believe you. Not any more. Prove it or don’t say it. But of course that admonishment won’t stop the likes of you “wise” prognosticators. You know better than the rest of of great unwashed out here.

  15. @Deep Pool Diver – My guess is based on the following pieces of data:

    1). As reported in the Wall Street Journal, this project was unable to obtain financing from any sources even during the height of the credit bubble;
    2). The location, itself, is awkward, sandwiched between a busy freeway frontage road and a highway off ramp;
    3). The tower is located less than 350 feet from a recessed, highly congested 8-lane freeway, bounded by concrete walls that reflect noise and less than 450 feet from the unshielded motors that power the exhaust system for the new tunnel;
    4). The area is devoid of any neighborhood retail services other than the 7-11 at One Arts Place;
    5). Sales at Ritz Phase 2 appear to have stalled, suggesting that the saturation point for high-end condos has been reached in this market;
    6). Projected sales prices per square foot are significantly above those at the Ritz, which has plenty of units available in Phase 2;
    7). After YEARs of pre-marketing, only a tiny fraction of the units have been spoken for;
    8). The Pension Fund’s real estate portfolio turned in a disastrous performance relative to its benchmark this year (a loss of over 6% versus a benchmark return exceeding 14%– a difference of nearly 21%!!!)— one of the most logical explanations for the lousy performance would be that the fund was forced to take a partial write-down on Museum Tower).

    Hope that helps…

  16. Also, I thought it goes without saying that one can not “prove” the future, and it doesn’t help transparency when the Fund has to be dragged into court to comply with routine open records requests relating to its operations.

  17. @ Wylie H. Your “facts,” as you present them, are all assumptions that do not reflect reality. Try these facts;
    1) The city master plan projected a building up to 50 stories on that very piece of property.
    2) If your assumption of poor location based upon freeway footage were true, noise and exhaust would spoil the Nasher, the DMA, the Hunt Building, One Arts and the entire host of buildings along the Woodall Rogers and the new deck park. That is not the case.
    3) The area is not devoid of neighborhood services, you are either misinformed or just not paying attention. Within a two block walk are more than a dozen high end restaurants and bunches of those that pass for less. McKinney is just across the deck park with loads of stuff, and with the launch of deck park and more promised construction as the economy continues to turn up more buildings, condos and services are coming. The new trolly line will soon deliver folks to Neiman Marcus and its emerging neighborhood. Seems others don’t share your pessimism.
    4) Your real estate analysis is questionable. The developers of Museum Tower bought the property at a favorable price, even more favorable was the lower cost for materials and labor to build at this time of a depressed economy. The best time to build, given these favorable conditions, is when the market is down so you can capitalize on the upswing. Business and real estate 101 pal. You are one of those glass half empty guys aren’t you.
    5) My research, just on Google, comes up with much different numbers for the Pension fund’s overall performance. They shoot for an average 8.2% return, if I read their projections properly, and they netted something like 4.7 per cent in this down economy. The state regulators, in the analysis I read, suggests that performance was pretty darn good and well within reason given the downturn in the economy over the past 4 years. There was no suspicion of poor management, in fact the state analysis projected the Pension fund will do very well as the economy up ticks and real estate continues its recovery.

    Gosh, I hope that helps you.

  18. Great job Deep Pool Diver, way to cloud the issue with facts. I applaud you. Doesn’t common sense dictate that we look at all the information now available and soon to be available before me make a judgement.

  19. @DPD – “Got lots of pictures of the kids hanging on the sculptures” – Really? You know that’s against the rules, right?

  20. So what is the over/under time when the experts opinions and experiments lead to a louver system as the best fix?

  21. @Deep Pool Diver (a.k.a. paul doe):

    1) “Every lender imaginable” turned the project down, according to the developer: “Brook Partners and Turtle Creek struggled for months to find conventional financing before turning again to the pension fund, which is now financing the entire $200 million project. “We talked to every lender imaginable,” says John Sughrue, Brook Partners’ chief executive.” – Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2010

    2) The gross under-performance of the pension fund’s real estate portfolio is confirmed on page 75 of its annual report for 2011, which shows the real estate portfolio returning -6.44% versus a benchmark return of 14.30%, an under performance of 20.74%. This was “because the System wrote down a number of properties due to current market conditions, as reflected by comparable sales.” (see page 80 of the same report). Museum Tower is, by far, the pension funds single largest real estate investment.

    3) The pension fund’s persistent refusal to comply with open records laws relating to its real estate investments is chronicled here: http://www.texaswatchdog.org/2012/09/dallas-police-and-fire-pension-system-sues-ag-over-records/1348064854.column

    4) The “more than a dozen high end restaurants” are located outside the two block radius you mention, as can easily be confirmed by looking at Google Earth.

    5) The lack of services to which I was referring were things like supermarkets, dry cleaners, breakfast places, hair salons, pharmacies, etc.

  22. Again you don’t have your facts straight Mr. Wylie H.. Last I heard the Nasher Sculpture Center was across the street and the Dallas Museum of Art across from them. Both considered excellent fare. There are at least a dozen restaurants within the Arts District and at least a dozen more within a mile. I don’t know how far you are willing to walk, but a taxi shouldn’t be that much. There are also other amenities and services close by.

  23. @Paul Doe:
    A dozen restaurants in the arts district??? I think you need to re-count. I can only come up with 6.