Alison King of Local First Arizona member Modern Phoenix recently alerted us to a historically significant issue occurring right in our own backyard. The David and Gladys Wright House (a Frank Lloyd Wright original), recently changed ownership and is in danger of being demolished:
“The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy has been working in the public arena, with national and local preservation groups and with the media, and has labored behind the scenes to try and save the David and Gladys Wright House (1950-52) in Phoenix. As reported earlier, identification of a new buyer or buyers for the house is the highest priority. In mid-June, at the Conservancy’s request, the city’s Planning Commission initiated consideration of preservation designation for the house. This action triggers a delay in granting a demolition permit but the delay is only temporary. For this reason, the Conservancy and its preservation partners are mounting a campaign to urge city approval of preservation or landmark designation, which would provide one-year or three-year protection from demolition and time to find a lasting solution for the building.”
A variety of strategies are being employed in attempt to save the David and Gladys Wright House. For some of these strategies, they are urging the public to get involved:
Strategy #1: Find a new buyer for the David and Gladys Wright House. The asking price is $2.7 million (the developers bought it for $1.8 million in June 2012).
What you can do: Let people know who may have an interest and be in a position to buy the house or be part of a consortium to own it transitionally or long-term.
Strategy #2: A split lot plan with the developers. This strategy would preserve the building, but not the entire lot.
Strategy #3: Historic Preservation/Landmark Designation. For this strategy to be successful, designation will need to be approved by the City of Phoenix. The David and Gladys Wright House is officially on the agenda for the next Historic Preservation Commission Hearing (September 17, 4:30pm, City Hall, 1st Floor Assembly Room, 200 W. Washington St., Phoenix).
What you can do: Phoenix and Arizona residents are encouraged to attend the Historic Preservation Commission Hearing on September 17. They are also encouraging that letters of support be written to members of the Phoenix City Council, the Mayor of Phoenix, and the Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission.
Strategy #4: Keep the story in the media. Local and national news coverage is encouraged, as it will increase the chance of finding a buyer for the home. It will also put pressure on the developers.
What you can do: Spread the word.
Get involved to preserve an important part of America’s and Arizona’s architectural history.