PHOENIX - A sale of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home that had been slated for demolition has fallen through and the home once again will go on the market, a real estate broker marketing the property said Monday.
The buyer, who has not been identified, decided during an inspection period to not proceed with the purchase because of unspecified personal and business reasons, said Robert Joffe. "I don't think I'm ever going to know the truth."
The home will again be listed for sale for $2,379,000, the price on which the now-canceled agreement was based, Joffe said.
However, he said the window to sell the home runs only until Dec. 4 because the Phoenix city council plans on Dec. 5 to consider approving an historic designation for the property.
"We cannot market it after the 4th because after that date, the property (value) will have been confiscated by the city and this will move to another arena," Joffe said.
Joffe declined to elaborate when asked whether that means the development company would sue in court if the city approves the historic overlay designation, which would block demolition for three years.
An attorney for the company, 8081 Meridian, has threatened a lawsuit if the city approves an historic designation that reduces the property value. Arizona has a voter-approved state constitutional protection against government action that reduces property values.
Mayor Greg Stanton and city Councilman Sal DiCiccio, whose district includes the property in the city's Arcadia neighborhood, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The home dates from the early 1950s. Wright designed it for his son, David, and daughter-in-law, Gladys, who died in 1997 and 2008, respectively. Wright family members sold the property in 2008, and representatives of 8081 Meridian have said the company wasn't aware of the home's background when the company bought it for $1.8 million in June.
The company's plan to demolish the home in order to redevelop the 2-acre property stirred controversy, particularly among architects and historical preservation advocates.
City officials then launched proceedings to consider a possible historic designation. Because the company was willing to sell the property to a buyer who would preserve it, the city council postponed consideration of the historic designation.
Wright designed the home to rise above the surrounding orange orchards, with a spiral ramp leading up to the main level of the concrete block home. Residents of the affluent neighborhood have close-up views of Camelback Mountain.
According to publicity material for the sale, the block home has a cantilevered overhanging roof, swimming pool, a guest house, a basement meat locker and built-in furniture and other fittings made with Philippine mahogany.
Joffe said he planned to immediately contact other potential buyers, including one who was involved in negotiations before the agreement was reached.
"I'm still confident that we're going to be able to find someone who is able to appreciate the house for what it is, and I'm very hopeful that a qualified buyer will step forward to save it," he said.