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Emergency Edition of Other People’s Homes: Gladys and David Wright House

23 Jul

I am sorry the cranky rant to come, but what is wrong with the world?  Why would anyone want to tear down an architecturally significant house to build new homes?  I can only think of one reason:  Money.  It sure isn’t because the world really needs are a few more McMansions.

(Thanks to Hooked On Houses for the head’s up.  Article via Today’s THV)

 
PHOENIX, Ariz. (AZCentral) — The owners of the Gladys and David Wright House in the Arcadia area of Phoenix have postponed plans to develop the property in order to find a buyer willing to preserve the much-lauded home.
 
Photo Gallery: Frank Lloyd Wright designed homeThe house, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is owned by 8081 Meridian LLC, which is incorporated in Nevada.

Company officials say they have been working with design and real-estate professionals, the city and conservators. They are in the middle of a 60-day waiting period, which ends Aug. 21, to find an appropriate buyer and evaluate redevelopment ideas. The company agreed to not move forward with its initial plans to develop the property during this period.

Meridian Managing Partner John Hoffman said options include finding a buyer for the property as a whole or a buyer willing to purchase the home as part of a smaller lot while Meridian develops two custom homes on the remaining property.

A selling price was not offered, and there have been no offers on the home yet, he said.

Hoffman said that if a buyer isn’t found by the deadline, Meridian will move forward with initial plans to redevelop the land, which includes splitting the property and “requiring relocation of all existing structures on the site.”

In addition to the 2,500-square-foot main house, the site includes a 350-square-foot guesthouse.

This year, 8081 Meridian bought the property for $1.8 million from JT Morning Glory Enterprises LP, which bought it in 2009 from the Wright family for $2.8 million.

“The goal is to find the best development scenario to preserve the structure while maintaining a viable redevelopment project,” Hoffman said. “We’re hopeful a buyer will step forward before the 60-day standstill agreement expires.”

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has launched an international search to find a new buyer who, they say, will save the house from possible destruction.

Janet Halstead, executive director of the conservancy, said that despite Meridian’s desire for preservation, the possibility of demolition remains.

She said the owners and conservators have different outlooks for the home, south of Camelback Mountain, near 56th Street and Camelback Road.

“The owners are working on plans for preservation, but we have concerns on how that would look,” she said. “They have indicated that it’s not a given the house can be preserved, and we’re taking that at face value.”

Wright built the home from 1950 to 1952 for his son David. It’s known for its spiral plan and elevated living quarters. David died in 1997, and his wife, Gladys, lived there until her death in 2008.

The conservancy is reaching into its network to find somebody who might buy the home, which, Halstead said, is an important Wright building, in a class of its own. The organization is also coordinating a group that opposes any efforts to demolish the house.

She said the conservancy is looking at various options with partners as a way to transition to new ownership or an appropriate new use.

She said that, for almost 40 years, no intact Wright building has been intentionally demolished, though some have been lost to fire and weather.

State Preservation Officer James Garrison said it’s rare for an individual to buy a property with the sole purpose of preserving it, but it’s more common for a group, such as the conservancy, to step in.

“Preservation can occur more along that vein. I’m sure individuals have (saved buildings), but usually, groups of people come together to do this. That’s the more common response to threatened architecture,” Garrison said.

“But the David Wright House is a tremendous piece of architecture and a whole other ballpark. It would seem possible to find someone who has the appreciation for his work to save it.”

The initial redevelopment plan for the 2.5-acre site included splitting the property into lots, which conservators say could effectively usher in the demolition of the home.

Architects, conservators and Wright aficionados responded by requesting a historical-overlay designation that would delay demolition, and the Phoenix Planning Commission agreed on June 12 to consider the request.

The approval process could include up to four public meetings over a number of months.

Michelle Dodds, Phoenix’s historical-preservation officer, said the next meeting could be in September.

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5 Responses to “Emergency Edition of Other People’s Homes: Gladys and David Wright House”

  1. Rosanne Allen-Hewlett May 10, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    How disgusting and embarrassing ! This should never have gone this far.

    Thank you investors for buying and saving this property. This would not have happened in L.A., and didn’t .
    Those involved should simply be ashamed of themselves!!

    Rant by Rosanne ( Allen-Hewlett )
    Designer/Realtor
    Scottsdale, AZ

  2. asimplemodernlife July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    How sad it is that our country, with very little history, seems intent on tearing down what little we have to be proud of to build something that is less than half as amazing and will probably be falling down in 50 years anyway. The people (as a whole) in this country have no appreciation for things that are built to last. “If it’s old it’s no good”, and “more, more, more” seem to be the mindsets of the American people.

  3. Rebecca July 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Preservation is a tough business. It takes money, cities and citizens making it a priority. On one hand I empathize with the owner who perhaps has financial reasons for needing to cash out the property, but on the other hand it makes me really sad. I recommend the State Preservation Officer contact the architecturally minded celebs like Brad Pitt who can afford houses ANYWHERE and would take great pride and pleasure in helping save this significant home.

  4. Dana@Mid2Mod July 23, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    The Wright home is gorgeous, and it will be tragic if it’s torn down.

    I feel the same way you do. It makes me angry when greed motivates people to destroy pieces of history…and for what? Like you said, to make room for more McMansions? I’m following closely the same situation here in Fort Worth, where Amon Carter III is threatening to tear down an A. Quincy Jones house if he doesn’t get his asking price. So you’re right…It’s all about the money.

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