Fried Garden Fracas
Blast from the glass: Museum Tower fights back in a full-page ad in the DallasMorning News
Finally! A peep out of at least one party in the Museum Tower/Nasher Sculpture Center controversy. Museum Tower made a gutsy move on Friday when it bought a full-page ad in the business section of the Dallas Morning News.
It was an ad, not editorial. In it Museum Tower said it was looking hard for a solution to the "reflection issue" but didn't say what it is — or, more important, who will pay for it.
If you subscribe, Robert Wilonsky has the story. Basically, Museum Tower claims to be doing everything possible, that gutsy architecture pushes the envelope sometimes. Also according to the letter, Museum Tower complied 100 percent with all Dallas city code. The high-rise will open as planned in January.
Robert Wilonsky penned a story about the ad and told the Nasher folks to feel free to buy tomorrow's back page.
The ad must have been a substantial investment, and Museum Tower's marketing campaign has been subdued ever since the "fried grass" stories broke. I wonder why they didn't approach DMN real estate editor Steve Brown, who's a pretty balanced reporter, or Wilonsky, who penned the ad story and told the Nasher folks to feel free to buy tomorrow's back page.
This was not the first time an organization bought an ad in the paper when it felt it wasn't getting a fair shake from editorial. Parkland supporters bought full-page ads in defense of former UT Southwestern president Kern Wildenthal earlier this year.
Museum Tower management has made it clear they feel a bias coming from at least two media outlets: the Dallas Morning News, whom they wrote a check to last week, andD Magazine, which published a cover story called "Towering Inferno." The garden-glare dilemma has landed Dallas in the New York Times and Vanity Fair.
Then, as if that weren't enough controversy, a mud-slinging fest took place between D's executive editor Tim Rogers and Jim Schutze of theDallas Observer, who claims Rogers' bias is real because his wife's PR firm, SparkFarm, once did work for the Nasher. (It bears mentioning that SparkFarm is one of three small businesses that share office space with CultureMap Dallas.)
Has the reporting, most of which nudges Museum Tower to make adjustments to its facade, been biased? I know of some sales at Museum Tower, but I also know of potential buyers who are waiting out the glass solution.
Everyone is hoping for a press conference with lots of hugs and handshakes. Until that happens, Realtors are concerned about lawsuits that could entangle buyers in years of litigation.
Here's the scuttlebutt — street talk, not confirmed — I have heard in real estate circles:
- Move the Nasher, and Museum Tower foots the bill. Yes, this story is really circulating.
- Install a louver system on the part of Museum Tower facade that allegedly fries the Nasher.
- Install a different glass on the part of Museum Tower facade that allegedly fries the Nasher.
- The glare from Museum Tower is so bright it is affecting residents at One Arts Plaza — now that's one long, powerful beam!
- The glare from Museum Tower will not harm any of the plants in the new Klyde Warren Park.
Like it or not, it was the media's duty to inform us of the reflective "sticky wicket," as my mother-in-law put it — and inform us they did. Will the process hurt Museum Tower sales? We know there have been foreclosures at the W and Azure, and we know The House is offering extreme sales perks. Plus, the Ritz is marketing hard to get those last dozen or so units sold in the second tower.
Speaking of the Ritz, Tim Headington's penthouse at Tower I is listed at $14 million, the highest priced penthouse in town. Is he selling because he wants a penthouse at Museum Tower? Fasten your seatbelts and stay tuned. After all, we had an earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale, so anything is possible.