Business Insider has a blog post on the potential legal action over the historic designation of the David Wright House.
NOTE: I am not a lawyer, and, while I have considerable experience with real estate law, I have no knowledge of Arizona law.
I’m skeptical that the owners of the David Wright house will have much luck in court. In civil suits there needs to be an actual, quantifiable harm — I don’t think that a reduction in the aspirational value of a parcel counts.
And in court you have to present facts, not a half-baked collection of Ayn Rand quotes — this isn’t The Fountainhead.
As Aaron Sorkin wrote, “these are the facts and they are not in dispute.”
—they bought a parcel whose only distinguishing feature was a giant, historic building, one not by an obscure modernist known only to art history grad students, but the most famous architect in the world; the same architect that designed one of Phoenix’s biggest tourist attractions. How does officially designating the parcel as historic decrease its value?
— They bought the property for $1.8 million. Four months later, with the historic designation almost certain, there was a credible offer from a serious buyer for more than $2.3 million. Everyone considers a 27% return on investment in four months, especially in real estate, as “excellent”. If anything, the official imprimatur has increased the value.
—The parcel with the David Wright house on it is literally unique and irreplaceable. The same parcel with one or two newly-built houses is no different than thousands of other lots in the Phoenix area. Unique is always more valuable than common.
Given the speed of the legal system, there isn’t any need to worry yet. There is at least a year before initial rulings — plenty of time for everyone to take a deep breath and find a solution.