Why Klyde Warren Won’t Complain About Museum Tower Glare


WFAA posted a story this morning about how the glare off Museum Tower is affecting Klyde Warren Park. Some visitors to the park are all like, “Now I get it! Yeah, I see why the Nasher has been bellyaching. That’s bright.” The story ends with these words: “Officials from Klyde Warren Park declined to comment for this story, but did say the glare does not affect them… even though its visitors do seem to notice.”

It remains to be seen whether the reflected heat off Museum Tower will damage the plantings at Klyde Warren. But as far as reflected light being a nuisance to visitors, there’s no question. I experienced it myself yesterday when I ate lunch in the park. There are certain times of the day when visitors sitting on the lawn and looking at something happening in the performance pavilion will be blinded. Yesterday at 5 o’clock I went to Veletta Forsythe Lill‘s retirement party, which was held on the 46th floor of the Chase tower. Looking down on the park, I watched streaks of light slowly crawl across the grass as the Museum Tower bounced light onto it like a disco ball.

Yet Klyde Warren Park officials say the glare does not affect them. Do you know why they say that? Because the developer of Museum Tower, the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System, has donated $1 million to the park. That’s the figure Richard Tettamant, the chief fund administrator, gave me in March.

It’s easier in the cool fall months to avoid biting the hand that feeds you. We’ll see what happens when summer rolls around.

UPDATE WITH CORRECTION HERE.

12 comments on “Why Klyde Warren Won’t Complain About Museum Tower Glare

  1. I had a friend that worked the event Saturday & Sunday. There were times when she felt like someone was holding a huge magnifying glass over her, aimed at her back. A chilly day, yet an uncomfortably hot beam shining on her. It will be unbearable to stand in those beams during summer.

    The fund should take all those bribes, I mean donations and put them into fixing the building. Seriously screwing themselves – they will switch to rentals by next July.

  2. Isn’t the cost of the louver system that Mr. Tettamant rejected as unsuitable last week around $10 million? Unsuitable or not, I thought that was a considerable unforeseen expense for the tower until reading that its developer has $1 million available to donate. I hope pockets are as deep when it comes to solutions to the glare as they are when hush money is needed.

  3. Newsflash: Sunlight reflects off of glass. All of the glass buildings downtown and everywhere else will reflect sunlight into your eyes if you look at it from an angle which intersects the sun’s path across the sky.

  4. The tower is now painting themselves as victim. Complaining that the museum is an elitist institution picking on the Fire and Police pension fund. Strange since their building isn’t even intended for anyone with a fire or police salary. They seem to have no intention on resolving this only dragging heels hoping that Nasher admits defeat and changes it’s architecture. There is some kind of karmic justice that they are having a hard time renting these units.

  5. Anyone figure out why Tom Luce pussed out as Chief Negotiator, follow that money. Guess he picked a team? That building is an eye sore and I mean it in the most literal way and figuratively as well.

  6. @Tom: Sure, sunlight will reflect off of glass — and will do so in a predictable way that can be easily calculated, and modified if needed.

    I think the objection here is that isn’t simply another glass building, reflecting light onto a side street somewhere that you walk down for a minute. The MT reflects a ton of sunlight into some of the few places in downtown Dallas where people would go to simply hang out outside for part of an afternoon, and it’s downright obnoxious at best. I’ll admit to being one of “those” visitors who’d read about the Nasher’s complaint, but not fully appreciated the problem until seeing it at Saturday’s opening. Hoping that this can be resolved for the benefit of all who enjoy the public facilities in that part of town ….

  7. @Tom – some buildings use materials that have limited reflectivity, and some choose to use materials that have high reflectivity. Guess which one we’re talking about in this instance?

    Newsflash.

  8. Does anyone remember high school science, where we were taught that when light passed through glass, heat passed with it, but when light was reflected from glass, the accompanying heat was also reflected? I thought not.

    If the MT glass does not reflect the light (and its heat) outward, that light (and its heat) will pass through the glass and enter the living unit. For the residents of that unit, that means either blinds, shades, drapes, and/or high a/c bills. So, to keep those frugal residents comfy and happy, everyone outside the building within sight of the building must suffer the reflected light and heat.

    High reflectivity=happy residents. Low reflectivity=unhappy residents.

  9. towski: Building a condo tower with non-reflective building material would defeat the allure of having a high rise condo. The floor to ceiling windows are a big selling point. I’m not saying the location of the tower was a good idea, only that it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that certain times of the day there will be a glare in the park and at the Nasher. The glare will be on the east side in the morning. It’s a part of life in the big city.

  10. @Tom – I understand that, but I’d direct you to Mr. Roger’s original article on the subject, which can be viewed here: http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/D_Magazine/2012/May/Museum_Tower_The_Towering_Inferno.aspx

    “Remember the covenant that Graham Greene had Sughrue sign when he bought the dirt under Museum Tower, the covenant that limited the reflectivity of the glass? That covenant expired in 2008, a little more than a year after Ray Nasher died and just as the police and fire fund was pouring more money into the Museum Tower project to make it bigger. The glass that towers 42 stories today is 200 percent more reflective than would have been allowed by that covenant. It remains unclear whether Johnson ever did a light and heat study. Neither he nor his local architect partners, the firm Gromatzky Dupree & Associates, returned phone calls or email. Neither Tettamant nor Criswell could say whether a study had been done. ”

    There are ways of building a glass building, one with those windows so important to the allure of a high rise condo (and sales figures are reflecting just how potent that allure is, of course) that would mitigate the glare. They simply chose not to pursue those ways.

  11. Is it even LEGAL for the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System to go around handing out million dollar charitable donations? It seems like Dallas Police & Fire is quickly becoming the “poster boy” on how NOT to manage a multi-billion dollar pension fund.

    Did anyone see the returns of the Fund’s real estate portfolio compared to their benchmark for the most recent year? They underperformed by over 20%— in ONE YEAR! You have to work really hard to turn in a performance record that awful relative to the competition.