Richard Neutra’s Kronish House sold to ‘preservationist’


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Richard’s Neutra’s Kronish House, the midcentury modern residence in Beverly Hills whose threatened demolition triggered renewed calls for better architectural preservation in that city, was sold Friday to a trust that intends to restore the property, the listing agent said. Price: $12.8 million.

The identity of the buyer was not disclosed, and listing agent Susan Smith said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from revealing details. ‘All I can say is that the person who is buying it is a preservationist,’ she said, and the intention is not to demolish the house.


Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency confirmed that he represented the buyer but declined to disclose details. A source close to the deal would say only that the buyer is not a celebrity and is a lover of architecture who intends to preserve Neutra’s design.

Even without the architectural pedigree, the property drew notice: nearly 7,000 square feet of living space, albeit in disrepair, set on a 2-acre, flag-shaped lot above Sunset Boulevard. Smith’s clients, Soda Partners, purchased the house in foreclosure in January. Earlier reports that the partnership paid $5.8 million were misleading, Smith said, and did not factor in a loan of around $1.8 million that the partners assumed, as well back taxes owed on the house and litigation expenses. She said the partners had bought the property for the land, not knowing it contained a house by one of Los Angeles’ preeminent figures in modern architecture.

News of the partners’ intention to scrap the house spread, culminating in a contentious City Council meeting in early August in which preservationists decried not only the pending demolition but also Beverly Hills’ lack of ordinances to protect its architectural history. Soda Partners agreed to postpone demolition until October, allowing more time for a preservation-minded buyer to step forward.

The campaign to save the house drew the support of the Los Angeles Conservancy, which on Friday issued a statement from executive director Linda Dishman that said in part:

‘The Kronish House has dodged the wrecking ball, and we could not be more thrilled. This outcome is a testament to the very hard work of many people, the willingness of the city and the owner to give preservation a chance, and the power of public support.’



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-- Craig Nakano