Tower glare battle escalates in downtown Dallas

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 7:42 PM

DALLAS -- The fight over the reflection in downtown Dallas has suffered a meltdown.

The man in charge of brokering peace, Tom Luce, has quit. And now, it appears the two sides, the Nasher Museum and the Museum Tower are miles apart on a resolution.

Luce resigned as mediator Wednesday, following a group tour at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Attending the tour were Trustees of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund. The Fund owns the $200-million, 42-story Museum Tower.

The sun’s reflection off the tower during certain parts of the day has been causing big problems for the Nasher Museum. Luce was trying to work, in private, with both sides on a solution.

His only explanation for his abrupt resignation was an e-mail made public Wednesday.

"The conditions and spirit under which I agreed to serve, are not being adhered to," Luce said.

He was perhaps upset that Museum Tower representatives have been taking their position public, first with a full-page ad in The Dallas Morning News, and then Tuesday’s public appearance and discussion of complications with negotiations.

Museum Tower and Pension Fund attorney Gary Lawson said the Nasher's proposed fix - louvers attached to the outside of the tower - is not acceptable. Lawson said the example being offered, a building in Germany, is not the answer.

"The German building was engineered to have louvers on it,” Lawson said. “Our building, of course, was not. It would take the whole skin of our building off."

Lawson argued a better answer would be to slightly reconfigure the optical roof tiles and redirect the sun.

“A little change in the oculus shape and we come to a great solution," Lawson said.

Apparently not for Nasher officials, who have declined an interview but have issued a statement.

Nasher Sculpture Center President David Haemisegger said, "I am deeply concerned to learn that because of actions of the leadership of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Tom Luce has determined that it is no longer viable to facilitate discussions to resolve the Museum Tower reflection issues."

Mayor Mike Rawlings also declined comment, but did express his disappointment in writing.

"I don't blame Tom for resigning,” Rawlings said. “To be effective, he must have leadership on both sides that are forthright and working tirelessly on this issue; unfortunately, he has not had that."

Museum Tower officials say they are not stopping their public campaign. They plan to release a full engineering report in a few weeks supporting their call for a reconfiguration of the Nasher roof as a reflection problem solution.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com


FULL STATEMENT FROM DAVID HAEMISEGGER, PRESIDENT OF THE NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER'S BOARD OF TRUSTEES

"On behalf of the people of Dallas, I am deeply concerned to learn that because of actions of the leadership of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Tom Luce has determined that it is no longer viable to facilitate discussions to resolve the Museum Tower reflection issues.   Tom has been invaluable in creating a process which led us to a point where we were engaged in detailed technical discussions of a solution that would address the reflection problems throughout the Arts District.  For the past six months at the request of Mayor Rawlings Tom has worked diligently and tirelessly for the benefit of the people of Dallas and the members of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System to help find a solution to the reflection issue, following upon the six months the Nasher had already  invested in working with Museum Tower.  As always, the Nasher is committed to working with the leadership of the Pension System to find a resolution to the problem."


FULL STATEMENT FROM MAYOR MIKE RAWLINGS

Tom Luce has worked hard to resolve the issue between Museum Tower and Nasher Sculpture Garden and I am grateful for his leadership and commitment to our city. 

I don’t blame Tom for resigning. To be effective, he must have leadership on both sides that are forthright and working tirelessly on this issue; unfortunately, he has not had that.  I know that attitude does not represent the sentiment of the Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees.  They have told me they want to resolve the issue quickly because the financial success of Museum Tower, the retirement security of our brave fire fighters and police officers as well as the future of Nasher Sculpture Garden is at risk. We need to work harder.

 

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