HUD Pursuing Affordable Units in Frank Lloyd Wright Tower

July 9, 2019

prince Tower

Lane Pearman (CC BY 2.0)

Affordable housing may be taking inspiration from legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is reportedly exploring options in Bartlesville, Okla., that would use federal grant money to turn a Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper into an affordable apartment building. The town’s Price Tower was Frank Lloyd Wright’s first skyscraper.

The Bartlesville Redevelopment Trust Authority wants to use a $500,000 grant to rehabilitate four apartments in the building for affordable housing. The organization submitted plans to HUD.

“The project will take three of the original two-level apartments on six floors and rehabilitate them into new rental apartments,” Chris Wilson, executive director of BRTA, told the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. “They will be restored in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.”

The Price Tower, built in 1956, is an asymmetrical, 19-story building that Wright once describes as “the tree that escaped the crowded forest.” However, given the building’s unusual shape, developers say conversion will be challenging to reconfigure units with kitchens, bathrooms, and new HVAC systems. All the units would need to come furnished, due to the difficulty in moving furniture into the units, developers note.

The building is currently being used as a hotel, restaurant, and the Price Tower Arts Center. No timeline has been set for the project, but the HUD grant funding must be used by September 2022.

Affordable Housing by Frank Lloyd Wright? HUD May Make it Happen,” (July 3, 2019) and “Apartments at the Price Tower?” Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise (June 27, 2019)