Pension Fund Administrator to Museum Tower Homeowners: Tower Is Bringing "Gracious Living to the Heart of Dallas"

Categories: Development

Museum Tower Thibodeaux.jpg
Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux
Earlier today, Dallas attorney Tom Luce abruptly resigned as the mediator in the dispute between Museum Tower and the Nasher Sculpture Center. This afternoon, Dallas Police and Fire Pension System administrator Richard Tettamant quickly released a lengthy letter to Museum Tower's homeowners, assuring them that DPFP's shiniest project remains on track. A copy of the letter was also sent to the media.

See also:
- The Museum Tower-Nasher Debacle is Getting Uglier By the Minute

"We want to assure you that this in no way will slow down our progress toward a solution in the reflection issue," he wrote. "We have a team of experts working every day and we are hopeful that we will find a solution soon."

Tettamant writes that a tower of some kind has been proposed on the spot where Museum Tower stands for at least 30 years. During the 2010 groundbreaking, he says, "Nasher officials and the city of Dallas officials joyously participated" in the ceremonies.

He adds that a formal study of the reflection issue began as soon as the Nasher notified them of the problem. The solutions they've looked at, he says, "include nanotechnology so advanced that it currently exists only in a military application in a war zone."

Moreover, Tettamant writes, "noted horticulturalist Scott Ogden" has surveyed the Nasher's garden and found it "beautiful and thriving with the exception of the grass ... According to Mr. Ogden, there is no evidence of any environmental impact on the garden from reflected light." He adds that DPFP has offered to replace any landscaping that the Nasher can prove was damaged by reflection.

Tettamant concludes by calling Museum Tower "a beautiful project," one that was specifically designed to complement "the world-class aesthetics of the Arts District." (Those of you waiting for the words "world-class" may now take a shot.)

"We're bringing homeowners and gracious living to the heart of Dallas," Tettamant concludes. "We created hundreds of jobs at a critical time when jobs were badly needed, and the project will contribute millions in new tax revenue for the City of Dallas. Museum Tower is an important project for Dallas and a project we are all proud of."

Meanwhile, City Council member and DPFP trustee board member Scott Griggs told us that Luce's resignation is "two huge steps back. We need to make a giant leap forward." He said the two parties "need to stop wrestling and start dancing. The pension system and the tower can be great partners. This is a critical moment for this project. We need to get past the egos and the blame game. Our interest should be to make the Arts District and the Nasher whole while selling homes."

Tettamant's letter is reprinted in full below.

Museum Tower Homeowner Letter



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20 comments
MisterMean
MisterMean

It seems to me kind of self serving of the city of Dallas to direct the Police and Fireman’s pension funds to this project.  “We are short of money --- where can we get more money for the arts district---- I know the Police and Fireman’s pension fund of course--- that will shore up our out of control spending on fluff projects”  says the city.

 

Well just look around at the many cities that have under funded or underwater city pensions.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Dropping a mil plus for a luxurious pied-a-terre does not imply "gracious living" to me.  Now, if it were in Manhattan, where you have every imaginable amenity practically at arm's length, yes; gracious living.  But the center of Dallas doesn't even have a food store.  You have to shlep two miles to shop for dinner.. or shop for anything else for that matter.

Siam
Siam

If you read the Dallas Morning News articles on Luce quitting, you would be led to believe the Dallas Police and Fire Pension system has been sitting on its hands doing nothing for the past year.  What a terrible untruth perpetrated by the likes of Mayor Rawlings, Tom Luce and the Nasher PR machine operating through surrogates.  We know now that the Pension system has spent months with engineers and scientific experts exploring more than 20 solutions to the reflections from Museum Tower upon the Nasher Sculpture Center.  We now have learned work is about done on a couple of promising solutions.

 

All of this takes time, if you do it right; engineering studies, architectural considerations, scientific data that must be collected an analyzed.  Imagine what would have happened if they Museum Tower developers had rushed to slap up the louvers (blinds) the Nasher and its architect told the mayor is their only solution.   The owners of Museum Tower, that would be every police officer and firefighter in this town, sent experts to Germany to study the very louvers the Nasher told the mayor would fix the reflection.  Guess what?  Those louvers on the Hegau Tower in Singen, Germany were part of the original construction and do you know what they do?  They reflect the sun away from the building to improve energy efficiency.  Did you get that?  The louvers, more accurately a venetian blind looking contraption that the Mayor, Tom Luce and the Nasher are trying to shove down the throats of the Museum Tower owners will not fix the problem, they will reflect sun too, and they are ugly as hell.   Wouldn't that look nice in the Dallas Skyline and Arts District over the new deck park?  A 42 story spotted venetian blind that looks more like a bird cage or jail than the beautiful building.  

 

And talk about hubris, the Mayor was presented with no scientific or engineering studies from the Nasher that the louvers would work, he only saw a PowerPoint presentation drawn up by the Nasher's own architect Rick Del Monte that offered no engineering or scientific data or assessment from the manufacturer of the blinds that the blinds could even be attached on Museum Tower.  Yet the Mayor says he is upset the louvers are being taken off the table.   The Mayor did not get upset at the Nasher when it refused to even consider reconfiguring the ocuili on its roof panels to aim away from Museum Tower and the reflection.  You want a quick, reasonable and total solution good for the Nasher and Museum Tower?  There it is.  

 

UTD optical expert and former Los Alamos research leader Dr. Cy Cantrell told the Pension Board of Trustees and Dallas Morning News reporters listening in, that the oculi not only will solve the reflection from Museum Tower into the Nasher galleries, he says redirecting the roof panels to the west north west will forever solve the problem.  The Pension system says it is in the final stage of testing the reconfigured roof panels and even offered the Nasher a $5 million dollar check to pay for refit.  You don't hear that from the Mayor, he only wants take swipes at Richard Tettamant the Pension system administrator.  

 

And I just learned something interesting this morning, did you know the Dallas Police and Firefighters Pension system loaned the Nashers millions of dollars to finance expansion of NorthPark Center?   Interesting how the Nashers now want to pick the pension pockets of every Dallas police and firefighter to stroke its ego by refusing to even consider a fix on its roof.   You see, the $10 million the Mayor claims the blinds would cost is fiction.   The blinds alone would cost that much.  Re-engineering the Museum Tower glass facade, running power and computers to operate the blinds could easily cost many times that amount, and still that would not fix the reflection issue.  The roof fix is less than $5 million, so says Dr. Cantrell, and they will solve the problem, so say the real scientist working on this project.   You be the judge.  Who is being unreasonable?  Every dollar spent more than changing the Nasher roof is taking money out of the future pensions for every police officer and firefighter protecting this city.  All for what?  To massage the ego of the Nasher architect?  

downtownworker
downtownworker

I wonder if this letter was printed in neon color paper and left folded on a few doors.

suburbanite
suburbanite

This may be a stupid question, but where do museum tower homeowners buy groceries?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz don't like the building or its owner's attitude, but there is a Walmart at Haskell and Central, WF is just down the tollway, and Jimmy's, Spiceman and the farmers market are nearby. Throw in delivery services and the abity to pay someone to shop for you and downtown isn't so bad.

Lee-dallas
Lee-dallas

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz If there were the population density in Downtown Dallas that you see in Manhattan, there would be a grocery store. It will come when there are enough people to support it.

towski
towski

 @Siam Sock-puppets should try and be more subtle.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

 @Siam The roof fix ?

The Roof is fine its the Tower tat is th problem !

Bremarks
Bremarks

 @Siam

 Glad to know you loaned money on Northpark.  At least you have one real estate investment that won't go south.  As to who's being unreasonable, you still have the problem that the Nasher was there first.  In the future, I'd suggest you (Mr. Pension Administrator) hire local architects in the future who understand heat and sun in Texas.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@Siam I humbly suggest that since the Solar Building was built after the Nasher, it's architects and engineers were responsible for assuring it did not cause nuisance or damage to neighboring properties. As they failed to do so the responsibility to remedy their problems resided with the tower and its owners. It is disingenuous for the Tower representatives to impose this burden on its victims. I have no idea what nano technologies have been explored, but all the solutions offered publicly by the Pension involve modifications of the victimized museum. The fact the owner of the Solar Tower is a Pension fund representing police and fire retirees has nothing to do with the equities of the case. If you want to count losing money, start with the price of an under occupied building. If this controversy gets to a courthouse, it will be interesting if the occupants and homeowners association will be co-defendants. The pension is poorly run and its assets poorly managed. It is insane the Pension is the sole owner of the building and guaranteed the financing debt. This is cronyism at its worst because all of the cronies are not qualified to do their jobs. These albatrosses litter the Pension's portfolio. If you really care about the security of the pension money, get real advisors, listen to them, and quit subsidizing deals no other rationale investor would consider. The Pension owns the building because no one else would co- invest. The Pension guaranteed the debt because otherwise no one else would lend the money based on the project's projected profitability. This something the Teamsters would have done in the Jimmie Hoffa days. I would not be surprised if there are similar shenanigans going on here.

chris
chris

 @Siam was this copy and pasted from the PR firm who wrote it?

LeeR
LeeR

 @Siam Get a life you creep. You obviously are in the dickhead camp. Big, shiny new glass building; cool. Look what you've done with your life.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

@suburbanite they have them deliveried or thier assistant fetches them.

Lee-dallas
Lee-dallas

 @suburbanite They buy groceries the same place everyone of the thousands of others who live downtown buy groceries.......they get in the car and drive to the grocery store, just as people in the suburbs do.

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

 @Lee-dallas  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

That's circular reasoning.  In order to support a grocery store, the people need to be there.  But in order for people to be there, there needs to be a grocery store. 

 

New York built its population density because there was nowhere else to go for most of its residents.  Dallas doesn't have that issue, because there is money flowing and readily-available suburbs to migrate to.  Regardless of your feeling about the areas, people want to live there, because they can get everything that they need.  Downtown, however, has no social infrastructure.  That has to be built before people will want to live there.

Balldodger
Balldodger

 @LeeR  You're an idiot!  All of our buildings are big and shiny, as is every new building in all major cities. We need many more shiny buildings that offer housing priced less than $350,000 for buyers to move downtown and bring life back.

 

The Pension was forced by Leppert and his cronies to finance the Museum Tower. They did not want to, but the talk in the room was clear, either finance this building or risk having the pension benefits reduced. The DMN and Douche Magazine were all too accommodating. 

 

Unfortunately, this debacles shows what amateurs we are on the world stage starting with our Mayor(s). When is the Observer going to do a story on the ad agency firm the Mayor worked for and how many jobs they've secured since he became Mayor.  

 

LeeR,  you obviously don't know what is going on or the history. 

Lee-dallas
Lee-dallas

 @Double-O-Joe  @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz There was a grocery store in downtown, on Jackson Street. It even had some City support. It folded due to lack of business. The time will come when another opens downtown.

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