From the Record:
It’s not the $68 million he was once asking, but what real estate investor Richard Kurtz is now seeking for the 30,000-square-foot mansion he built in Alpine — $49 million — would apparently still be a record for a residential real estate deal in New Jersey.
Eight years after spending $58 million on 60 acres in Alpine and Demarest — during the housing market’s frothiest days — Kurtz is still trying to sell the mansion and another luxury home on the property, as well as several building lots.
In the years between, he has faced a housing crash, a financial crisis and the deepest recession since the Depression. But he remains confident that as the economy and the housing market recover, he’ll find buyers for the two homes.
“We’ll sell them; I’m not concerned at all,” said Kurtz, 73, who owns 14,000 garden apartments through his company, Kamson Corp. in Englewood Cliffs.
“When we bought the property, it was a great purchase,” he said. “Then the world fell in financially, and it wasn’t such a good purchase. But I felt eventually the economy would straighten out.”
While many homes aspire to be mansions, and many people aspire to build them, what Kurtz calls the Stone Mansion truly fits the bill — 30,000 square feet on 6 acres, originally offered for sale in mid-2010 for $68 million. It’s been on and off the market since then, and is about to be offered again with an asking price of $49 million — still an ambitious target for Bergen County, where the record sale was for $32 million, at the peak of the housing market.
And the Frick family’s original home nearby has also been on the market off and on; Kurtz said he is talking to an interested buyer and hopes to sell it soon.
Down the hill from the Stone Mansion, Kovalchuk is building a giant home on a 2-acre property he bought in 2010 for $4.5 million. Counting the Kovalchuk sale, Kurtz has made more than $13 million on the sale of five building lots, according to public records. (Kurtz said a sixth sale is in contract.)
But Kurtz’s carrying costs on the remaining properties are also enormous — property taxes alone come to more than $650,000 a year, and he is also paying on several multimillion-dollar mortgages. He said his apartment business helps pay the bills.
Over the years, as the housing market deteriorated, Kurtz has had some concerns about finding a buyer for the Stone Mansion. Nonetheless, he doesn’t regret building it.
“Just the timing,” Kurtz said. “Things got very difficult. We had an environment that was the worst since the Depression. How could I have anticipated that?”