Bloomberg News

Phoenix Frank Lloyd Wright House Set for Razing Amid Pleas

October 03, 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright House in Phoenix Set for Razing Amid Pleas

The process is under way to designate the 2,500-square foot home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, that Nevada-beased 8081 Meridian LLC bought for $1.8 million in June, as a historic landmark. Photographer: Walt Lockley via Bloomberg

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) --A 60-year-old Phoenix house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his son is pegged for demolition by a developer if a new owner isn’t found.

The company that owns the David and Gladys Wright House, built in 1952 in the city’s Arcadia neighborhood with views of nearby Camelback Mountain, agreed yesterday not to raze the house for 25 days as the city and preservationists look for a buyer, said Michelle Dodds, Phoenix’s acting historic preservation officer.

“We hope in that time we will have an agreement with someone interested in buying the house, someone agreeable to have historic preservation landmark status,” Dodds said.

Dodds said the property’s owner, 8081 Meridian LLC, whose partners live in the Phoenix area, is objecting to efforts to designate the property as a historic landmark, which would prohibit demolition for three years. The company told the city it planned to divide the property in half and build two new homes in its place, Dodds said.

Melissa Banuchi, a spokeswoman for 8081 Meridian, referred questions to partner Steve Sells and said he wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Landmark Status

The city’s Historic Preservation Commission voted Sept. 17 to give the home landmark status and a neighborhood planning committee also approved the designation yesterday, Dodds said. Another panel will review that status before the City Council takes up the matter Nov. 7.

The developer obtained the 2,500-square foot home in June for $1.8 million. It rejected an offer by a preservationist willing to pay $2,050,000 million, said Janet Halstead, executive director of the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, which has been among the groups looking for a buyer to save the structure. It is currently seeking an offer of at least $2.2 million, Halstead said in a telephone interview.

“It is an important piece in Wright’s career,” Halstead said, noting the spiral ramp in the home -- a similar theme to Wright’s design for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York -- and his attempts to make the house fit into its Southwestern desert surroundings. “It is very unique and it is critical that this building be preserved.”

Wright, whose works also include Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, died in 1959.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda J. Crawford in Phoenix at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at

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