Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House sold for $4.5 million

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Frank Lloyd Wright's famed and long-endangered Ennis House, which served as a location for films such as "Blade Runner," has been sold for just under $4.5 million after two years on the market.

The iconic, 6,000-plus-square-foot Los Angeles estate, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was sold by the Ennis House Foundation to business executive Ron Burkle, Christie's International Real Estate said.

Perched atop a hill in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles just south of Griffith Park, the Mayan-inspired estate built in 1924 from some 27,000 16-inch concrete blocks is one of only four -- and the last and largest -- of the legendary American architect's "textile block" homes.

Burkle "is committed to complete the rehabilitation of this irreplaceable icon," said Marla Felber, chair of the foundation, late Friday.

"Mr. Burkle has a track record of preserving important historic homes, and we know he'll be an excellent steward of the Ennis House."

The foundation completed the initial phase of a stabilization and restoration project over two years ago after years of decay and damage from earthquakes and torrential rains. In March 2005 it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's most-endangered list.

Christie's said that the sale included an agreement that Burkle, a billionaire who also owns the historic Greenacres, or Harold Lloyd estate, would provide some form of public access for at least 12 days a year. Subsequent owners would provide the same access.

The house, which the last private owners donated to a public trust in 1980, was put on the market in June 2009 for $15 million but underwent several price reductions, given the need for a further $5 million to $7 million for preservation.

The house is well known from its use for film and television locations, which also included "Black Rain," "Twin Peaks" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

Wright, who died in 1959, was one of the world's most prolific architects, designing homes, churches and office buildings like the Johnson Wax headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, as well as public spaces including the famed white spiral of New York's Guggenheim Museum.

(Writing by Chris Michaud; Editing by Jerry Norton)