You may be aware of the controversy brewing over the 1952 vintage Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, AZ. Developers purchased the property with the idea of splitting the lot, demolishing the house and building and selling two houses on the property. Obviously, their motives are to get a healthy return on their investment. The National Association Realtors is an adamant proponent of private property rights, which would dictate that the owners have every right to do what they please with the property. However it is not that simple…the City of Phoenix, besides issuing the building permits to split the property and proceed, has also now said that it is an historical property and should not be torn down.
My feelings are very conflicted over this; I am a strong defender of personal property rights. But I am also concerned about losing something completely irreplaceable. I cannot imagine anyone purposely destroying a 1952 classic car, or smashing a 1952 Les Paul guitar. I see little difference here in that the owner chooses to purposely destroy this house, except that the owner believes he can increase the value. Really? What is the value? Is it only monetary? I don’t think so. Phoenix has so few historical residences. Taliesin West and its legacy needs to be preserved. My hope is for the best of both worlds: a philanthropist or even the City of Phoenix will step up and pay the price asked by the owners in order to preserve this incredible gem.
For perspective, I have included a NY Times article regarding this, as well as two videos that show the property.
Here is the link to the NY Times Article: http://t.co/ZyQshOOa
This video shows exteriors and interiors with no audio.
This second video was done by Scott Jarson, a fellow Realtor, and a strong advocate for saving architecturally significant properties. He walks through the house, room by room.
What do you think should happen here? Do Private Property Rights trump the city’s Historical Designation? Talk to me…