It appears a new buyer, not the city of Los Angeles will stop current owner, Soda Partners, from leveling the former Beverly Hills residence of tract developer Herbert Kronish. Designed in 1955 by Richard Neutra, the 6,891 sq ft, 6 bedroom, 5.5 bath home was one of the largest residential projects completed by the Neutra office. The current owners have filed a “Demolition Permit” with the city of Beverly Hills, who has a poor track record when it comes to preserving architecture.
Soda Partners, the limited partnership that owns the property has secured a permit to cap the sewer line, a step that often precedes a request for a demolition permit, said Jonathan Lait, Beverly Hills’ assistant director of community development.
The owner has not yet applied for a permit to raze the structure, an action that would require a 10-day notice of demolition.
As Barbara Lamprecht relates in her book “Richard Neutra: Complete Works,” the architect seemed an odd choice for Kronish and his wife. In an October 1953 letter, they stated they did not want a design that looked like a wooden box or had a flat roof, radiant heating or sliding doors — Neutra trademarks. They went ahead with the project, and the result was a formal, pinwheel-shaped villa (with radiant heating). On his website, Dion Neutra relates that Mrs. Kronish had some unusual requests, including mirrors on the ceiling of her dressing room.
The one-story house sits at the end of a 250-foot-long driveway on a two-acre “flag” lot. Records from DataQuick, a San Diego research firm, indicate that the house was sold in January for $5.8 million. The property was then listed in April for $14 million. The conservancy said the only way to stop the demolition would be to change the owner’s mind or find another buyer.
Soda realizes this house will get the media attention it deserves before making a hard decision if they decide a vacant lot is more valuable. This lot will easily accommodate a new modern 12,000 sq.ft. home. A patron, not Los Angeles needed to rescue. Someone who embraces downsizing, quality over quantity, keeping