Owner demolishes Frank Lloyd Wright building in Montana

By Daniel Uria  |  Jan. 11, 2018 at 8:44 PM
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Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The owner of a Montana building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright demolished the structure Wednesday after failing to sell the property.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, a Chicago-based group dedicated to preserving his legacy, said the building was demolished 2 hours after final terms of an offer to buy the building were rejected.

"We in the preservation community are all incredibly disappointed by this outcome, to say the least," said the conservancy's executive director, Barbra Gordon.

The Lockridge Medical Clinic building located in Whitefish, Mont., which began as a medical clinic, then became a bank and professional offices, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gordon said the distinction doesn't guarantee a building won't be demolished, as most preservation work takes place on a local level.

"This devastating situation underscores the vulnerability of all Wright-designed buildings that don't have some form of legal protection," she said.

The owner, Ruis Holdings, set a deadline of Wednesday to sell the building for $1.7 million in cash and demolished it overnight when the deal wasn't reached.

"It was communicated to all of us through our local contact working to broker the deal that the developer would not move to demolish the building until late 2018, by which time we expected the intended buyer to have their financing and complete the purchase," Gordon said. "None of us are aware of why the owner changed his mind and moved up his demolition plans."

Two buildings designed by Wright have been demolished in the past 15 years including a house in Grand Beach., Mich., in 2004 and a Manhattan auto showroom in 2013.

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