By CARRIE ANTLFINGER
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Frank Lloyd Wright house has been put on the market in Milwaukee.
Jillayne and Dave Arena bought the house 30 years ago as a duplex and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars into making it a one-family home and preserving it, after it had been a rental property, Jillayne Arena said.
This year, they spent $36,000 fixing the foundation and making other repairs, she said. The three-bedroom house is listed at just under $200,000. It was built around 1916.
She said she and her husband are realistic about the market and the house’s location, so they have priced it low. They don’t expect to get their money back but hope someone else enjoys it as much as they have, she said.
“It’s been a process of letting go and detachment and that’s difficult,” said Jillayne Arena, who moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, because her husband took a new job. “But it’s part of our own life experience: to reevaluate where we are in our lives. So this has been a great experience but it was time to move on.”
It’s one of a row of six similar houses on the south side known as the American System-Built Homes, which Wright designed as part of his lifelong pursuit of providing affordable housing for low-income residents.
They were produced from factory-cut materials assembled onsite.
“Not only do you get a Frank Lloyd Wright house, but you get to look out at Frank Lloyd Wright houses, which is truly a remarkable experience as well,” she said.
Listing agent Jack Smith, with Shorewest, said it’s too early to predict the demand, but he’s only had three inquires since it went on the market Friday, despite the media attention. His first showing is Thursday, he said.
Mike Lilek, who is the curator for three of the houses on that block owned by Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin, said it’s not rare for Wright houses to go on the market, with about an estimated 400 in the nation. But they are highly coveted, he said.
“They come on the market from time to time because people’s lives change,” he said.
The group has restored one of the single family homes and it’s open as a museum, he said. The group will still start restoration work on a duplex next year and another duplex will be eventually restored.
Lilek said the group has no plans to buy the Arena house because it already has a similar one. Also, the group wants the row of houses to be primarily lived in, he said. It was important to Wright to have people live in architect-designed homes, he said, and making them all into museums would defeat the purpose.