Article: David Wright owner buys adjacent properties

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DRN
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Post by DRN »

The historic designation application was filed 4 or 5 years ago. It was placed on hold by the current owner while land was being acquired...not sure if the application has since been allowed to move forward by the current owner.

Large masonry or concrete structures have been moved, but the distances are measured in feet and yards across open land or small town streets; not miles of congested suburban hell. This house cannot be practically sectioned, moved, and reassembled miles away. Maybe across the street, but that would solve nothing and the cost would be astronomical.

If the house is to be saved, it is on its current site. The economics need to be made to work. The sale of the surrounding acquired lots need to generate money to allow the house and a manageable lot to be sold at a price that it can be purchased and the $1M-$1.5M needed for the substantive restoration can be afforded.
Whitefish was lost because the purchase price did not allow the purchaser a return on investment with the existing building as was, let alone after restoration costs were factored.

DRN
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Post by DRN »

If a subdivision was needed to maximize salable land, leaving the house on a much smaller lot, I could see the guesthouse being moved a considerable distance away, possibly sans slab. It is a narrow discrete rectangle, not integral to the main house’s composition.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

The guest house, lovely as it may be, is neither historically, aesthetically, nor programmatically essential to the original structure. As such it might have a new life of its own, nearby or not ?

SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

I continue to marvel at some of the posts regarding this poor house. The entire conglomeration of house, guesthouse and site are historic, and any plans for the sale and future development of the property should preserve these elements.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

What is the date of the guest house ? Who designed it ?

The orange grove which had a major influence on Wright's design is long gone. Perhaps an effort to replace parts of it, in the vicinity of the house, could be a part of future restoration efforts ?

SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

SDR - I think you already know the answer - it belongs with house

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Well, in fact I did not know the answer, so I looked it up and found that the guesthouse (sic) was designed at Taliesin c. 1954, as shown (minimally) in Taschen III, p 386. And, while Wright
may have intended the house to rise above an orange grove, there are no trees close to the house, in the early photos shown in Taschen, pp 265-7, taken when the house was brand new.

My apologies.

SDR

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

outside in wrote:The entire conglomeration of house, guesthouse and site are historic, and any plans for the sale and future development of the property should preserve these elements.
I think we all agree with this philosophically, but I worry that if we hold out for this as the one and only viable solution, we increase the likelihood that the bulldozer that was stopped at the curb last time won't be stopped this time.

I'm willing to fight for the preferred solution, but I think we need to at least be open to alternative, admittedly less attractive options that will at least result in saving the structure. Any solution that saves the house is preferable to seeing it scraped off the land for one more McMansion ...
Docent, Hollyhock House - Hollywood, CA
Humble student of the Master

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright

outside in
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Post by outside in »

this is called negotiating with yourself. The alternatives will undoubtedly arise, but its important to reinforce a narrative at the outset that accommodates the history of the buildings and site. The second a developer see an opening - its gone.

SREcklund
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Post by SREcklund »

outside in wrote:this is called negotiating with yourself. The alternatives will undoubtedly arise, but its important to reinforce a narrative at the outset that accommodates the history of the buildings and site. The second a developer see an opening - its gone.
True, and even "Plan B" would be represent a significant loss. Between what almost happened here last time, and what _did_ happen in Whitefish, I'm just worried that a lot of concerned folks will be left wringing their hands as the dozers roll.

That said, when I hit the lottery and buy the whole thing, you're going to be the first call I make ... followed by a really good structural engineer ... :-)
Docent, Hollyhock House - Hollywood, CA
Humble student of the Master

"Youth is a circumstance you can't do anything about. The trick is to grow up without getting old." - Frank Lloyd Wright

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

It's true, as outside says, there must be a clearly stated stand that the preservationists follow. But before that red line is drawn, the realities of the situation must be given a lot of thought. In this particular situation, the neighbors have a strong stand that must be taken into account. For their interests, retaining the original lot with house, guest cottage and acreage, as it stood for decades, private, would be the ideal. Any sort of effort to maintain the house as a publicly accessible space probably won't gain much traction, nor would offering the extra lots for sale for anything but private residences, which is not reasonable at $12.95M. So the price has to come down and the neighbors have to be satisfied.
David and Gladys are in a tight corner.

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

Matt
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Post by Matt »

I lay some of the blame for his situation at the FLW School who rejected the donation of the house. The article mentions the need to raise millions for upkeep...which I find dubious. When someone is giving you a house, you damn well take it and sort out the rest of the *** later.

Or were there other massive strings attached to the donation?

DRN
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Post by DRN »

As part of the house donation, the school had to raise $7M for an endowment earmarked solely for the house by 2020. Concurrently, the school was in its first year as an independent entity from the FLW Foundation, and in the process of building its own endowment for the school itself.
Raising substantial amounts of money for an endowment is difficult for any non-profit..the prospect of raising large sums for two separate endowments was more than the school could reasonably undertake. The concern was that they would wind up with two endowments, neither of which of sufficient size to provide stability. The school's first priority is the school. They did what they had to do.

Matt
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Post by Matt »

"As part of the house donation, the school had to raise $7M for an endowment earmarked solely for the house by 2020."

Who established this requirement? The seller? I can hardly believe that someone who has gone to such extremes to preserve the house would set an unreachable bar for the School to jump over.

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