It’s not uncommon to find a property with an incredible price tag, but it’s equally rare to find one with a property history of such bad record keeping.
For many buyers, that’s the case with the Miami Beach home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
A decade ago, the Wright Estate, an iconic building in downtown Miami, was sold for $20 million to a private developer for a massive, 17-acre parcel.
“Frank Lloyd’s legacy has been built on this land,” says Kevin Toth, a Miami-based real estate broker who’s sold several properties to the Wright family.
Toth says he’s been seeing lots of new buyers interested in buying properties from the estate, and some are turning to an obscure record keeper that records everything from the date a house was built to the date of a sale.
It’s been called the “house of the future” and “house to house.”
The Miami-Dade County Landmarks Preservation Commission (MDLC) tracks every sale, and Toth says it’s one of the top 10 records in the county.
The records, called “hematite records,” are meant to help the public understand what went into the construction of the buildings they see in Miami Beach.
There’s a lot of bad history on the site.
According to the records, a lot was built on the property in the late 1800s for a building that was never built, but was later turned into the site of the Wright Ranch, which has been used as a tourist attraction and a resort.
This is a property that was purchased by the Wright estate in 1869, according to the files.
In 2006, the land was transferred to the state of Florida, which sold it to a developer in 2011.
That same year, the state filed an application with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a special designation for the property to be designated as an historic site.
The designation allows the public to view and learn about historical structures and artifacts.
But the Wright property’s history isn’t entirely clear.
According to the documents, the property was built in 1909 as a single-family home.
More recently, the records show that the home was built between 1909 and 1916 as part of a planned subdivision, the county documents state.
To get the records and other records, the agency requires owners to sign contracts that allow them to disclose information about their history.
One buyer told the Miami Herald that he was interested in purchasing the property because it’s an “exciting building.”
But he added, “I’m going to have to wait and see how the [historic] designation plays out.”
“There’s not a lot you can do with these records,” says Toth.
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