The David and Gladys Wright House, a 1952 Frank Lloyd Wright residence in suburban Phoenix, Arizona, whose continual imperilment over the past decade could inspire a suspenseful real estate novella, has found a buyer that has pledged to protect and preserve it.
As reported by the Arizona Republic, the buyer, Benson Botsford LLC—a group that includes architect Bing Hu and businessman Jim Benson, both members of the board of the college formerly known as the School of Architecture at Taliesin—paid $7.25 million for the spiraling concrete block abode in the Arizona desert, which was one of Wright’s most unusual late-career residential works (designed for this son David and daughter-in-law, nonetheless.)
In recent years, any mention of the property 5225 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix’s well-heeled Arcadia neighborhood was likely to give preservationists heart palpitations, as the fight to shield the home from predatory and unscrupulous developers wishing to raze the 2,500-square-foot home and fill the 2.2-acre lot—some sources place it at 5.9 acres—has been a dramatic and drawn-out one. In 2017, it looked like the home’s endangered status would be a thing of the past after it was donated to what was then known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture by guardian angel/owner du jour Zach Rawlings, who had initially planned to open a museum at the site. Yet that deal fell through and the property, vulnerable yet again, went back on the market in September 2018 with an asking price of $13 million.
Backing up several years, the preservation plight first began in 2012 when a local demolition-minded developer bought the home for $1.8 million from an owner who had recently purchased the property from the granddaughters of David and Gladys Wright, who passed away in 1997 and 2008, respectively. Over the next several months, a nail-biter of a struggle to save the home, essentially held hostage, from imminent demolition commenced and, eventually, it was. But anxiety over the landmark home’s prospects never quite subsided.
Since 2018, the home has managed to stay safe from harm and unless another wrench is thrown into the story, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
“We had several offers over the past few years, but the buyers always wanted to only tear down the house and build all new ones,” listing agent Bob Hassett with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty told AZ Big Media of the latest sale. “The sellers wanted nothing to do with those proposals as their intention from day one when they purchased it back in 2012 was to make sure the home and it’s integrity would de be preserved as such a historic Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece should and will be. These are the perfect buyers for this property, and we are all extremely happy that we were able to put this all together.”
Per the Republic, additional details on what’s in store for the home—aside for it not being demolished to make way for luxury homes—are slim, although the buyers have noted that they will add a cooper roof to the building per Wright’s original plans as part of a larger restoration. AN will update this story as we learn more.