Update on the David Wright House 9.19.12

SIGN THE PETITION to help save the David Wright House

The 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.

>>Learn what you can do to save this Frank Lloyd Wright Masterpiece (PDF)

The Conservancy is employing several approaches:

Strategy No. 1:
Search for a new buyer or buyers to purchase the property intact from the developers. Asking price is approximately $2.7 million. Developers bought it at $1.8 million in June 2012. We have contacted a number of possibilities and asked them to use their networks as well. This is a tall order but not impossible to find a new owner who will respect and restore the building and its site.

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 No. 2: Though a lot split is not the best solution, some split plans would be much better and respectful than others for the house and the site.

Early interaction with the developers indicated plans to build large inappropriate structures that tower over the David Wright House (hence Strategy No. 1 above), however a group of local Phoenix architects is working on more palatable designs which have been shared with the developers. All of these approaches will involve zoning/variance issues and/or neighborhood questions.

Strategy No. 3: Historic Preservation/Landmark Designation – work for approval by the city.

We continue to work with the City’s Historic Preservation officer and the mayor’s office to make the strongest possible case for Landmark status. The next hearing on the matter will be Tuesday, October 2 at 6:00 pm: Camelback East Village Planning Committee Meeting, Devonshire Senior Center, 802 Devonshire Ave. Phoenix and Arizona residents are encouraged to attend .

We encourage letters to be sent as soon as possible to all the commissions/committees that will review the matter. As many of you know while historic preservation designation is under consideration no demolition permit will be approved. Approval of Historic Preservation designation provides an automatic delay of one year for granting any demolition permit; Landmark status provides a three-year delay. The unknown at this point is whether the city will require owner consent and at what point in the process.

What you can do: Write in support of Historic Preservation and Landmark designation for the David Wright House given its special significance. Send your letter by September 27 for maximum impact.
Please indicate the following in a subject line: David Wright House Historic Preservation Landmark Designation (Rezoning Application Z-24-12-6)
a) One letter may be addressed to the following 2 recommending bodies:

  • Chairman Awai and the Planning Commission, City of Phoenix
  • Chairman Swart and the Camelback East Village Planning Committee
c/o Ms. Michelle Dodds, AICP
Acting Historic Preservation Officer
Planning and Development Department
City of Phoenix
200 West Washington St. Third Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003

b) Letter to the Mayor and to the City Council

The Honorable Greg Stanton
Mayor of Phoenix
200 West Washington St. Eleventh floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003
c) If you are a resident of the City of Phoenix you may also wish to send a letter to your individual councilman.

Strategy No. 4: Keeping the story in the media

We are encouraging national coverage for this story to help spread the
word for a buyer, increase the geographic spread of public concern (not
just Phoenix) and let the developers know that the media is interested
and their actions will be reported. Here is sample press coverage:

-Chicago Tribune

-Architectural Record (Video that includes comments from Anne Wright Levi, great granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright)

>> close window