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Anonymous benefactor buys Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 1950s home in Phoenix
This home designed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright had been threatened with demolition. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin.

By: Paul Davenport, Associated Press

DALLAS, TX.- An anonymous benefactor has purchased and wants to preserve a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in Phoenix that had been threatened with demotion, a real estate broker, city officials and a preservationist group said Thursday in separate announcements.

Wright designed the 1950s home for his son and daughter-in-law. It was twice sold in recent years, and preservationists objected last summer when they learned a development company planned to demolish the home in order to split the property.

The Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy said the new buyer wants to remain anonymous. The property was purchased through a corporation that will transfer it to a not-for-profit organization, which will restore, maintain and operate the home for educational purposes, the conservancy said.

The purchase means "this important piece of our Phoenix history and the Frank Lloyd Wright legacy will be preserved for generations to come," Mayor Greg Stanton said.

The conservancy said the home is the only Wright-designed residence that uses a circular spiral plan similar to the Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York, which was built after the home.

Robert Joffe, a real estate broker who marketed the property, said the home sold for $2,379,000. That was the original asking price but less than a $2.5 million price put on the property several weeks ago because of recently incurred expenses, Joffe said.

Two previous sales fell through, so this transaction was kept under wraps until the deal closed Thursday, Joffe said.

Joffe and Janet Halstead, the Wright conservancy's executive director, both emphasized that the purchase is final.

"This is closed and recorded," Halstead said. "That's why we didn't announce it until now."

Joffe said the buyer won't be living in the home and is purchasing it "for the love of the property" and to help the community, not as a business decision.

"They're really not looking for the notoriety. The public will never know who they are," he said.

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio praised the buyer. "Words cannot express our gratitude."

Joffe said the buyer was the first potential buyer to whom he showed the property when it went on sale several months ago. But the person stepped aside when somebody else started the process of purchasing the home before backing out.

The conservancy said the new owner will ask the city to designate the home as a landmark. Further information on plans for the home will be released in January, the group said.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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