This month marks the second anniversary of the opening of Museum Tower. The 42-story condo tower made headlines around the world for the way its highly reflective windows bounce damaging sunlight into the galleries of its next-door neighbor, the Nasher Sculpture Center. As a result, the museum has had to pass on important exhibitions. The added heat has also burned trees in the garden, particularly the cedar elms, and forced the Nasher to reseed its lawn on nearly a weekly basis, where a few times a year once sufficed.
There is hope, though. First, Mayor Mike Rawlings installed three of the four city council members who sit on the board of the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System, which owns the $200 million Museum Tower. Jill Magnuson, director of external affairs for the Nasher, calls the 2013 move a “game changer.” With new board members in place, relations between the two sides improved. Then the pension’s recalcitrant director, Richard Tettamant, resigned in June of last year. Faced with investment returns far below expectations (due to risky real estate plays like Museum Tower), the board forced him out.
A real estate investment and development firm called Hines is now working to fix the glare problem. Councilman Philip Kingston, who sits on the pension’s board, says the company’s engineers are investigating several solutions, some of which use technologies that have only recently come to market. It’s not impossible that progress could be announced before the midpoint of this year. Magnuson says, “We’re now at the point where we should have been three years ago.”
With the glare problem having cast Museum Tower in a bad light, selling the pricey condos hasn’t been an easy task. The pension remains tight-lipped about sales numbers, so we dug through Dallas Central Appraisal District data to get an idea of how things stand. As of late November, it looked as if 32 units out of more than 100 had been sold. The architecture firm that designed the tower, Johnson Fain, says the building has 370,000 square feet of condo space. DCAD shows 124,719 square feet have been sold, or about 34 percent of the building—a disastrous number, given that it has been open for two years. Here are a few of the more notable residents and where they live.