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Three Major Modernist Houses in Palm Springs Are in Default

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Three notable Palm Springs houses in the town's exclusive Southridge neighborhood are in default, reports the Desert Sun. The houses—the John Lautner-designed Elrod House (famously used in Diamonds Are Forever), Michael P. Johnson's Boat House, and the Hugh M. Kaptur house that Steve McQueen once owned—all belong to Michael J. Kilroy, identified as a Palos Verdes real estate investor who collected the properties in the 2000s. Kilroy also owns at least three other properties also in default, one of which is Loretta Young's West Hollywood complex, once home to Rock Hudson and Joan Crawford.

Kilroy stopped making mortgage payments and paying his homeowners association dues back in 2009, according to documents for a court case pending against him. When Kilroy bought the houses, he also received a license to rent them out, which he did, but only to members of the private, $100,000-a-year, invite-only Southridge Club. In November of 2009, the three Palm Springs houses also went up for sale.

"When Kilroy got involved, people bought for the wrong reasons, people that tried to exploit properties for commercial properties were in the leadership," says a Southridge resident who has himself restored two houses in the neighborhood. Guess that didn't work out for him. Kilroy owes nearly $3 million if you combine the mortgage payments (on the three and another estate once owned by Jack Benny that's also in Palm Springs), plus the past-due HOA dues and property taxes.

There's not a lot of clarity about what state the houses are in now; the DS says that high winds in 2012 may have damaged the roof of the Elrod, but at least superficially it looked good enough to host tours for PS Modernism Week that same year. The happiest ending to the story would be that they're all in fine condition and get sold to architecture lovers who coddle them, but we'll have to wait and see.
· Iconic Modernist homes in Palm Springs in disrepair [DS]
· John Lautner's Elrod House in Palms Springs Hits Market [Curbed LA]