FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S ENNIS HOUSE SOLD TO RON BURKLE
Los Angeles (July 15, 2011) — The Ennis House Foundation today announced the sale of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House to business executive and founder of the Yucaipa Companies Ron Burkle for just under $4.5 million. “We are excited that Mr. Burkle has purchased the Ennis House and is committed to complete the rehabilitation of this irreplaceable icon,” says Marla Felber, Chair of the Foundation. “Mr. Burkle has a track record of preserving important historic homes, and we know he’ll be an excellent steward of the Ennis House.”
Since 1993,Ron Burkle has owned the historic Greenacres estate, which was built in the late 1920s for silent film legend Harold Lloyd. He will continue the rehabilitation of the Ennis House begun in 2005 by the Ennis House Foundation. As part of the transaction, Ron Burkle will provide some form of public access to the house a minimum of 12 days per year, according to the terms of a conservation easement held by the Los Angeles Conservancy. The easement stipulates this access for future owners of the home as well.
Built in 1924 for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the Ennis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, architect Lloyd Wright. The house is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four Los Angeles-area “textile block” houses which feature patterned and perforated concrete blocks that give a unique textural appearance to both their exteriors and interiors. The house and chauffeur’s quarters span roughly 6,200 square feet and were constructed of more than 27,000 concrete blocks; all made by hand using decomposed granite extracted from the site.
Despite its significance, the Ennis House suffered greatly over the years from deferred maintenance, deterioration of the concrete blocks, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and record rainfall in 2005. That same year, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy stepped in and reorganized the nonprofit that owned the house, renaming it the Ennis House Foundation.