Ron Burkle Buys Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House
by Ian Volner | Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | 2 Comments
Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor, gossip-column staple, and prominent FOB (Friend of Bill), has bought the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. The residence, a landmark “textile block” structure completed in 1924, had lingered on the market for nearly two years after its foundation-based ownership had put it up for sale for lack of funds. The purchase was executed by the real estate branch of auctioneer Christie’s, with a final price tag of $4.5 million.
Burkle will have his work cut out for him: as with so many of Wright’s houses, the Ennis residence requires extensive upkeep, and much rehabilitation work remains to be done despite the best efforts of the previous owner. In addition, the deed stipulates that Burkle will make the house available for public viewing a minimum of 12 days a year, giving Wright enthusiasts continued access to the historic building.
Even with those caveats in mind, real estate watchers generally agree that Burkle got the house for a remarkably low figure given its renown in the design community and beyond (it’s been featured in films like Blade Runner and Rush Hour, and remains one of Wright’s best known houses); doubtless, Burkle’s reputation as the owner of several other historic homes lent credit to his bid.