On Friday we got word that the Richard Neutra-designed Kronish House in Beverly Hills has been saved. It has new, mysterious owners who paid $12.8 million and say they are planning to restore it. Things were looking dire there for a while--the previous owners bought the house at a foreclosure auction and were asking $13.995 million (it will also take at least a couple million to fix it up), and they'd applied for a demolition permit, saying the property would be easier to sell as an empty lot. The Wall Street Journal reports today that "the house was purchased in the name of a trust" by buyers who were looking for an architectural house to use as their private residence. The real estate agent who repped the sellers says the new owners aren't planning on working with Dion Neutra, who runs the Neutra architecture practice. So who came along with both deep enough pockets and the dedication to restore a large 1955 house that's in pretty bad shape? Let's guess, shall we? Here are some of the usual (and unusual) suspects, along with the totally made-up odds that they might actually be the Kronish buyer, and a poll:
Producer and serial mid-century house buyer/restorer Michael LaFetra
Sometimes it seems like he's the only person in town buying these kinds of houses. And he buys a lot of them.
Preservationist/actress Diane Keaton
As far as we know, she doesn't own an LA-area house right now, although she did mention that she might want to build her next house from scratch. Also, Kronish doesn't really seem like her style.
Former musician/motorized door magnate/Neutra restorer James Rega
Having restored the Kun House and with plans to rebuild the demolished Von Sternberg House, he's probably the number one Neutra guy in town (along with his restoration partner Josh Gorrell). But he has a lot of projects going on already, plus a Schindler of his own to live in.
Neighbor/pop star Madonna
As far as we know, she doesn't give a lick about mid-century architecture, but she does own the neighboring property.
Architecture enthusiast/actor Brad Pitt
He just stepped up efforts to sell his Malibu house at about $13 million and the Kronish is the one Neutra house that might have room for all his kids. But he has a compound in Los Feliz and hasn't ever taken on a really dire preservation project like this one.
Director Michael Govan sometimes says he'd like the museum to steward significant houses around LA, but he's also said it doesn't have the money to do it. Plus the whole private residence thing.
Philanthropist Eli Broad
You just can't talk about throwing a lot of money around on twentieth century art in this town without mentioning the name Eli Broad, so here it is.
It's a trap! The new owner will tear it down and build a McMansion!
No odds on this one, but feel free to vote for it.