Praise be! It looks like we have a legitimate Christmas miracle on our hands, folks.
A nail-biter of a historic preservation story
that I initially reported on back in August and continued to track
until I stopped because things got too damned frustrating/depressing has come to a most happy conclusion: After online petitions, genuine panic, and a false alarm or two, an architecturally significant Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in the Phoenix ‘burbs has finally found a buyer,
saving it from a (s)crappy, self-martyring developer who planned to raze the home, split the lot, and build a couple of McMansions in its place.
The folks over at the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy
can finally enjoy a solid night’s sleep as it appears Phoenix’s very own preservation angel, an LLC owned by an anonymous benefactor, closed the sale transaction yesterday for an undisclosed price. As you may recall, the last time the 2,250-square-foot concrete and steel abode built in the early 1950s had a bite from a potential savior/buyer, the price was $2.379 million, cash. You also might recall that the last time there was a bite, Janet Halstead, executive director of the Conservancy was “cautiously optimistic” regarding the potential sale. She told the New York Times
: “We won’t know if the house will be saved from the threat of demolition and irresponsible development until we know the intentions of the new owners.”
As the story goes, that last potential buyer of the historic, held-for-hostage home ultimately backed out for unknown reasons. That was in November. This new owner is the real deal and their intentions are crystal clear: To turn the David and Gladys Wright Home over to a nonprofit organization that will be responsible for maintaining and restoring the home. The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy further explains in an official release announcing the good news:
Planning has begun for the restoration of the house and grounds, and additional donations from the public will be sought for the costs of restoration at the appropriate time. The new owner will request that the City of Phoenix grant landmark designation to the house. The goal after restoration is to make the house available for educational purposes
Halstead, who truly must be beside herself right now, adds:
This is what we have been working toward over the last six months – landmark status and a new preservation-minded owner. Immediately our Conservancy working group was joined last June by local preservationists and concerned Phoenix residents. Their active and sustained commitment has been remarkable. We worked as a team to explore options, often behind-the-scenes, as well as rallying community support.”
The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy will release more particulars next month about how the new organization will operate and how you can help support the restoration and upkeep of this once-imperiled property.