According to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Wright–designed Lockridge Medical Clinic (also known as Whitefish building) in Whitefish, Mont., was demolished last night after efforts to save the building failed. Originally designed as a medical clinic by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1958, just one year before the architect died, the 5,000-square-foot building also served as a bank and an office for a law firm before it was purchased by a developer in 2016.

According to the Conservancy in an article on its website, developer Mick Ruis had purchased the property with the intention of replacing it with a new three-story mixed-use structure. Last week, the Conservancy wrote that Ruis, who was not aware of the building's history at the time of purchase, had asked for $1.7 million to match the amount he paid for it, by Jan. 10, after receiving backlash concerning his plans.

The short time frame made it difficult for the Conservancy and its partners to seek a buyer or raise money. Two days before the demolition, 341 Central, a company formed by the Conservancy to save the building from demolition, put forward an offer that "provided for a substantial refundable deposit paid directly to the owner with 60 days to close on the full $1.7 million asking price, and the ability to conduct inspections on the property, which had already undergone an undetermined amount of interior demolition work." They then asked for time to launch a crowdfunding campaign to come up with the rest. The next morning, the owner countered, asking for a 50 percent increase on the nonrefundable deposit and demanded the deposit to be paid on the afternoon of the same day. "Further terms stated that 341 Central would have until only Jan. 22 to pay the remaining $1.7 million purchase price, and there would be no reasonable time frame for buyer inspections on the building." During the ongoing negotiations, the owner had also put up fences around the building and began to fell the property's trees. By Jan. 10, a large portion of the deposit was raised by the Conservancy and offered to the owner along with a request to extend the deadline for another week, which was immediately rejected. The owner moved forward with the demolition later that evening.

“The board of directors of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy agreed the owner’s proposals provided no realistic path to acquiring the building, short of an investor willing to put down $1.7 million cash without reasonable time to complete their own due diligence on the property,” said Barbara Gordon, executive director of the Conservancy. “We certainly attempted to make that happen alongside many other options we explored in the incredibly brief window of time we were given to find a new solution. Complex commercial real estate transactions don’t happen overnight, and we believe a realistic offer was submitted to the owner by his deadline that would allow the organizations working to save this building to continue to fully finance its purchase. We in the preservation community are all incredibly disappointed by this outcome, to say the least.”

A video published by Montana Public Radio shows the demolition.