There is a big debate brewing in Arcadia on one question: Do the current owners of a famous Frank Lloyd Wright home have the right to demolish it?
The home is in disrepair. Parts of its exterior wall are crumbling. There are warped wood ceilings from water damage and cracked countertops. The house that sits on 5212 E. Exeter Blvd. near Camelback Mountain might seem like so many other neglected, empty homes. But it isn't just any neglected house. It is a Frank Lloyd Wright home.
"Some architects call this, arguably, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's 20 most influential designs," said Dan Mitchell, a local realtor who started a Facebook page to preserve the home.
However, it's ultimately up to the current owners to decide what to do with it. The home has sat empty since at least 2008. It was designed and built between 1950 and 1952 for the famous architect's son. Two local developers purchased the property back in June for $1.8 million. There were plans to split the property and build two larger homes on the land. But the developers underestimated the loyalty of Wright's fans.
"This is really a beautiful building. It is the best building in Phoenix by the best American architect ever," said Will Novak, who is part of a group of fans known as Wright Watchers.
They plan on closely monitoring the property in order to prevent construction crews from tearing down the home.
"Phoenix is never going to have 300-year-old buildings if we knock them down when they are 50 or 60," Novak said.
CBS 5 News was able to get an exclusive look inside the house with the current owners, John Hoffman and Steven Sells. They run 8081 Meridian LLC, a two-person company that builds custom homes in the Valley.
Sells said he did not realize the importance of the home when his company bought it in June, and might not have purchased the property if he realized, at first, its full significance.
"It's safe to say that it was ignorance on my part," Sells said.
However, Sells said he understands how important the property is to many in this community, and that's why he agreed to hold off from doing anything to it for at least 30 days.
"[I'm hoping] we can, in fact, find that white knight or somebody with deeper pockets than me, to come in and maybe look at it as a restoration project," he said.
But Sells said he is a big proponent of property rights, and if an agreement is not made, he will not wait forever and simply hold onto the property.
"I certainly would want to see it preserved, but I can't sit on the sidelines for three years and then [Phoenix city officials] finally say, 'OK, we know we're wrong. We know we can't take your property.' Because that would really hurt us financially and put us in a sincere hardship," he explained.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:29 PM EDT2013-05-22 18:29:48 GMT
? CBS 5
Follow @JadiannCBS5, @reporterjmiguel and @elizabetherwin for updates from Jodi Arias murder trial in the death of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. [Text BREAKING to 23765 to get breaking news alertsMore >
Get live updates from CBS 5 News reporters as the jury deliberates the fate of Jodi Arias, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:32 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:32:40 GMT
Only on five tonight... A former assistant police chief in glendale is breaking his silence about his demotion - suspension and the family crisis at the center of it all. Former assistant chief gregMore >
Former Glendale assistant police chief Greg Dominguez is breaking his silence about his demotion, suspension and the family crisis at the center of it all.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:36 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:36:14 GMT
(Source: CBS 5 News)
Be the first to find out when the jury reaches a verdict in the Jodi Arias murder trial. She's accused of killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, at his Mesa home in 2008. The jury is deliberatingMore >
Be the first to find out when the jury reaches a verdict in the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
(RNN) - British officials are saying one man is dead and two others were injured in a possible terrorist attack in London on Wednesday.According to BBC News, eyewitnesses said man was attacked in a streetMore >
One man is dead after two men attacked him in broad daylight with knives and meat cleavers. More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 9:43 PM EDT2013-05-22 01:43:10 GMT
Saturday night's Powerball drawing
Two $1 million Powerball second-prize winning tickets were sold in Arizona from Saturday night's record-breaking jackpot. The winning tickets, which matched five out of five numbers drawn, not includingMore >
A Phoenix woman has come forward to collect her $1 million Powerball prize and says she's planning to go on a family vacation and invest the rest of her winnings.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:56:41 GMT
Jodi Arias (Source: CBS 5 News)
It is now in the hands of the 12 jurors to decide if Jodi Arias will live her life behind bars or if she'll be executed. The defense and prosecution gave their closing statement Tuesday afternoon andMore >
The jury has gone home for the day without a verdict on life or death for convicted murderer Jodi Arias.More >