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Dallas Arts District Showdown Over Sun's Glare Sizzles And Fizzles Again

Jerome Weeks

The owners of the Museum Tower in Dallas' Arts District introduced what they called a new proposal today to fix the glare the high-rise has created at the Nasher Sculpture Center next door. But Nasher officials say it’s a dressed-up version of a proposal already rejected.

The plan from the building's owner, Dallas Police and Fire Pension Fund, calls for slight adjustments to the dozens of oculi in the Nasher’s "sunscreen" roof -- in effect pointing them away from the 42-story glass tower. Pension Fund officials say that would keep the glare out of the museum -- and they would pay for it. 

In a statement, Nasher officials call the proposal a “publicity stunt” that recycles “the same grossly inadequate and deeply flawed idea.”    

The roof was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano to allow natural sunlight to sift into the exhibit space.  But museum officials say the unwelcome glare has raised indoor temperatures and scorched the grass in the garden outside.  

Pension Fund officials have said the two-year-old stalemate is not helping sales of the 122 condos in the $200 million building. Pension Fund Administrator Richard Tettamant says the roof-change proposal is backed by solid science and engineering.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has pleaded for a solution to restore the prestigious Nasher and sell the condos, thereby protecting the city’s public safety pension fund. 

The mayor said he wanted to see the issue resolved by summer. But, it appears the Dallas Arts District duel in the sun remains a standoff.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.