Ennis House Update

As reported in our case studies, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC) helped save the Ennis House (1923) from total deterioration in 2005 when efforts were made to draw together key organizations to form a revitalized non-profit entity to steward the house. The iconic building featured in the movie “Blade Runner” and other films had been damaged by the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and again by heavy rains in the winter of 2004-2005. Without appropriate action, the Ennis House faced an expiring FEMA grant deadline and loss of critical construction monies. The FLWBC rallied the LA Conservancy and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to guide the house through a crucial period. All three organization provided representatives with special expertise to serve on the Ennis House Foundation Board. FLWBC board members and members who have made major contributions to the Ennis House Foundation board are Jennifer Emerson, Robert Leary, Tom Schmidt and Eric Wright. Raising private funds to complete needed stabilization work prior to tapping the balance of federal funds was a challenge. FLWBC contacts identified a preservation-minded backer to secure the loan needed to carry out the stabilization work. Joel Silver played a key role in forming the Ennis House Foundation and in locating the needed financing. Los Angeles businessman Ron Burkle stepped up to guarantee the loan to enable the work to proceed and the house was stabilized. Burkle later joined the FLWBC board. After ensuring the building’s survival, the Ennis House Foundation concluded that private ownership would be the key to the house’s long-term future, given that the site needs more resources and stewardship than can be generated by a small non-profit. The house is currently offered at $7,495,000. See Wright on the Market for details.

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