DALLAS – A developer planning two high-rises in Dallas’ Arts District has ordered studies to ensure his new buildings don’t reflect light and cause the same problems –– or attract the kind of attention –– that is currently engulfing the Museum Tower.
“Clearly once I saw the issue coming up somewhere else, it certainly made it something I wanted to do,” Craig Hall said.
The Frisco-based developer expects to begin construction by October on the first of two high-rises in the heart of the Arts District downtown. The first would be a 16-story office tower, followed by a 30-story condo high-rise. Both would sit on top of a long-abandoned parking garage across Flora Street from the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Winspear Opera House. The first phase should be open by 2015, Hall says.
Arts District supporters worry Hall’s new towers could flood the enormous canopy in front of the opera house with sunlight. The steel-frame canopy surrounding the venue is designed to allow light in the winter and deflect it in the winter. Yet, Hall insists he plans to use thicker glass in his windows to ensure the glare isn’t irritable.
“That was the bottom line: that you’re not going to bother your neighbors,” he said in describing the results of his reflectivity study. Hall, who lives downtown, pointed out he’s a big supporter of the arts. Large sculptures are scattered throughout his developments. He’s planning a metal statue that will stretch more than 100 feet tall outside his $150 million development. The development will have street-level restaurants and stores to encourage more pedestrians to enjoy the district.
“We’re looking to be long-term neighbors,” he said. “We want to be sure the building reflects properly.”
His precautions come as the Museum Tower remains in a bitter feud with its neighbor, the Nasher Sculpture Center. Directors complain light bouncing off the 42-story condo tower is damaging the museum’s artwork and irritating visitors. No solution has been found.
“Let that be a warning,” urged Petey Parker. From her 19th floor balcony in her condo at One Arts Plaza, she has incredible views of the Arts District and the glare from the Museum Tower. She’s pushing builders for future high-rises to factor in how sunlight will play off their sleek exteriors.
“I’m assuming they're smart enough, wise enough to say we’ve learned our lesson on this,” said Parker, who’s helped launch a petition at stoptheglare.com that calls for the Museum Tower issue to be solved.
She would like to see Dallas city code changed to factor in a building’s reflectivity, something not currently regulated.
“The code has to register that you can’t reflect and destroy somebody else’s property,” she said.