In June 2012, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy became aware that the current lease of the Hoffman Auto Showroom by Mercedes was ending in December. Despite the Conservancy's efforts, along with the support of DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State and the Historic Districts Council, the showroom at 430 Park Avenue was gutted during March 28 to April 3. Although altered twice over the years, when it was destroyed it still retained the central and distinctive Wright-designed elements of the spiral ramp and turntable.
After Potential Demolition, A Bright Future for the David Wright House
When previous owners threatened to demolish the David Wright House last year, there was an international outcry. The new owners are deeply interested in Wright’s architecture and absolutely committed to preserving the house. Phoenix attorney Grady Gammage, Jr. has been hired to represent the new ownership. The family strongly prefers to remain anonymous. Mr. Gammage and representatives of the ownership have begun meetings with members of the neighborhood to discuss plans. The intent is to fully restore the home, including the interior furnishings and the famous circular rug, and to plant the landscape as Wright had originally intended. Once it is restored, the house will be opened for tours by small groups of school children, architecture students and the public.
Transitions in ownership can present exciting new opportunities as well as significant threats to Wright properties. Finding new stewards who understand and appreciate these structures is crucial to the buildings’ longevity. Although the David Wright House was highly publicized because of the very real danger of the house being demolished, other Wright on the Market properties have also made headlines this year.