A campaign to prevent the demolition of a Beverly Hills home designed by famed modern architect Richard Neutra is being spearheaded by the Los Angeles Conservancy.
“We want to get the attention of the community and convey the gravity of the issue," said Adrian Scott Fine, the L.A. Conservancy's director of advocacy. "There is no way to stop the demolition other than finding a preservation-minded buyer or through action by the City Council. We are reaching out to the folks who live and vote in Beverly Hills. You are the ones who really matter.”
Known as the Kronish House, the residence was completed in 1955 and spans nearly 7,000 square feet on a two-acre lot at 9439 Sunset Blvd. The home is one of three designed by Neutra in Beverly Hills and the only one that remains intact.
The property was sold in a January foreclosure auction to Soda Partners for $5.8 million and placed on the market in April for nearly $14 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. The paper also reported that Soda Partners has secured a permit to cap the home's sewer line, a requirement that must be met before obtaining a demolition permit.
"A demolition permit in Beverly Hills is an over-the-counter, ministerial act," Councilman John Mirisch told Patch. His attempts to change the municipal code to grant the council more discretion in allowing demolition projects (e.g. requiring the approval of a replacement project before a demolition permit is issued) was rejected by all other council members except for Lili Bosse.
Though the city has been taking steps toward approving the , a property tax incentive for restoring and maintaining historically designated buildings, it has yet to be put in the books.
“We are losing our history and architectural heritage, which gives Beverly Hills its unique community character. Soon it will be gone and we'll be nothing more than a fairly nondescript, well-heeled suburb of Los Angeles, rather than our own community with our own special and distinct identity,” Mirisch said. “As we, unfortunately, continue to lose these irreplaceable treasures, I'll continue to fight for measures which can both protect and show appreciation for the story these buildings have to tell about our beloved city, because it's our story.”
The L.A. Conservancy is encouraging residents and business owners to contact City Council members by today and attend the Tuesday, Aug. 2 council meeting at 7 p.m in an effort to prevent or delay demolition of the Kronish House.