The New York Times reports that Steve Sells and John Hoffman, principals at a local development company called 8081 Meridian, bought the property for $1.8 million in June. The company said that the house was uninhabited for four years prior to its purchase and that it was never included on any landmark property watch list. The Phoenix city government had initially issued a demolition permit for the house but then rescinded the permit when news of the planned destruction was made public.
The property's new owner, who was not identified, will seek municipal landmark status for the house. An Arizona-based nonprofit organization is being established with help from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy to operate the house and coordinate restoration work. The new owner will also ask the City Council to provide the property with landmark status.
Wright designed the 2,500 square-foot house for his son, David. The house, whose spiral design slightly resembles the architect's landmark Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, was maintained as a private residence and still remains mostly unexplored by Wright scholars. David Wright died in 1997, and his family sold the property following the 2004 death of his widow.
The preservation of the house is a victory for Wright scholars. About one in five buildings designed by the celebrated architect has been demolished.
(Photo by Scott Jarson)