Best Building Orange County 2008 - Twist-Basler House
The Twist-Basler House is a Santa Ana historical treasure: The two-story Tudor Revival manse is on the city's list of historical properties. You'd think city officials would do everything possible to preserve it, but instead, they looked the other way while mega-developer Michael Harrah chopped the house into four pieces and let it rot for more than a year, protected from the elements by little more than garbage bags. The house is now slowly being reconstructed on the cheap at Cabrillo Park, while its original location stands vacant since Harrah's vision of a 37-story skyscraper has stalled due to the faltering economy and his own Freudian megalomania. The only good that has come out of this is that local historians are now finally learning to distrust developers who plan to preserve old properties even as they destroy them, something to remember as the county's older cities embark on redevelopment plans.