New Jersey Cheat Sheet: Montclair residents object to ‘megamansion,’ Garden State cancels cannabis bill vote… & more

<em>Clockwise from the left: New Jersey legislature cancels vote on legal cannabis bills, a 50-acre estate near Trump National Golf Club hits the market in Bedminster, Montclair residents voice concerns over a billionaire's megamansion proposal and a luxury community in Cedar Grove comes to market.</em>
Clockwise from the left: New Jersey legislature cancels vote on legal cannabis bills, a 50-acre estate near Trump National Golf Club hits the market in Bedminster, Montclair residents voice concerns over a billionaire's megamansion proposal and a luxury community in Cedar Grove comes to market.


Montclair megamansion proposal meets vigorous opposition
Some residents from the township of Montclair are in an uproar over a proposal to erect a 60,000-square-foot mansion adjacent to the Eagle Rock reservation in Essex County, according to, which noted that if built, the “Lloyd Estate” would be larger than the White House and rival President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. The outlet reported that Turkish billionaire Melih Abdulhayoglu, founder of Clifton-based cybersecurity firm the Comodo Group, appears to be the owner of the property after his name appeared in building proposal documents recently filed in Montclair. Plans for the sprawling estate reportedly include a billiard room, bowling alley, movie theater, two elevators, indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, spa and an 11-car garage. If approved, the mansion would be similar in size to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ own “Xanadu 2.0” estate outside Seattle. reported the site of Abdulhayoglu’s proposed palace required the purchase of two separate homes on six acres in Montclair that were both razed in February. The publication reported that local residents have voiced dissension over the destruction when the the pair of properties — a Civil War-era home at 14 Undercliff Road that sold for $3.88 million in January 2018 and a 1907 seven-bedroom mansion at 172 Lloyd Road that traded for $3.4 million last July — were leveled before scheduled meetings with historic preservation and zoning officials. []

New Jersey nixes vote on medical, recreational cannabis
An effort to legalize marijuana in New Jersey collapsed this week after state house Democrats were unable to muster enough support Monday to salvage legislative proposals that would have expanded a program to use cannabis for medicinal purposes and expunged marijuana-related crimes, NJBiz reported. The decision to postpone a vote on legalization came a week after New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee advanced a pair of bills that set up what would have been a historic Garden State vote. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive who promised to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults over 21 within his first 100 days in office, pledged to sign the legislation once the so-called weed bill hit his desk in Trenton. Murphy was reportedly busy whipping up support for the initiative over the weekend, even turning to West Orange resident Whoopi Goldberg to help persuade lawmakers to vote for legalization. Supporters of legal weed in New Jersey claim that it would be an economic boon to the state, particularly its real estate sector, as noted last summer by The Real Deal. But with a vote now cancelled due to a reported lack of support in the upper house of the legislature, NJBiz noted that a new vote might not take place until after midterm elections in November. [NJBIZ]

Large estate near Trump National hits market at $15M
A 50-acre Bergen County estate located less than less than five miles from the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster hit the market earlier this month with a nearly $15 million ask, according to an announcement from Closter-based luxury listing broker Beyder & Company. The 15,000-square-foot property at 420 Spook Hollow Road has eight bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, a guest house and a pool house, as well as a bar, gym, movie theater and rec room, among other amenities. New York-based architect Alan Wanzenberg, who took the lead designing Elizabeth Swig’s four-bedroom duplex at 740 Park Avenue in Manhattan, worked on the Bedminster property alongside interior designer Alexa Hampton. Beyder & Company principal Igor Beyder has the listing for the Colonial-style home, which was constructed by Taconic Builders in 2016. The parcel is among the most expensive residential properties to hit the market in northern New Jersey so far this year. [Beyder & Company]

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Developer launches resi division alongside luxe development
Onyx Equities announced last week the formation of a residential arm, Onyx Living, in anticipation of two ground-up rental complexes in Bergen County coming to market, NJBiz reported. The Woodbridge-based developer, one of the largest in New Jersey, said that Onyx Living will oversee the development and management of Ridgewood Station Luxury Apartments at 1 Franklin Avenue and The Enclave at Ridgewood. The properties will add 99 luxury units to the town — 60 at the latter and 39 at the former — with an approximate delivery date of mid-2020. Onyx co-founder and managing principal John Saraceno Jr., a former Ridgewood resident, will head Onyx Living. Both rental buildings are being built on a mixed-use site that was once occupied by Ken Smith Motors, according to Plans call for the project to allocate 5,500 square feet of retail space in addition to the high-end rental units. Onyx, which has been an active developer in Ridgewood, was also recently part of a five-firm collective that bought three of the four Gateway Center buildings in Newark for $300 million, as noted at the time by The Real Deal. Onyx is working with Axonic Capital, Garrison Investment Group, Prudential Financial and Taconic Capital Advisors on that purchase of 1.8 million square feet in downtown Newark. [NJBiz]

NJ Investment Group to offload Cedar Grove rental community
Cushman & Wakefield has been retained by the NJ Investment Group to market a 24-unit luxury rental community in Essex County, reported Real Estate NJ. The two-building property, known as Zephyr Ridge at Cedar Grove, was built in 2018 and is now 100 percent leased, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Brian Whitmer, Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel, Ryan Dowd and Mark Phillips are leading a team from the brokerage advising the seller on its plans to unload Zephyr Ridge, whose amenities reportedly include outdoor patios with grills, private garage parking, a resident lounge, storage units and a fitness center. Units in the development have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and start at $3,250 per month. “The local area has an average household income over $150,000, high cost of single family housing, a growing ‘move-down’ population and world-class educational and health care facilities,” said a statement from Whitmer. “All of those factors support the demand for Zephyr Ridge, as the community provides the perfect lifestyle and conveniences for its residents.” Cushman & Wakefield noted that a New Jersey Transit station in Upper Montclair is within two miles of the Zephyr Ridge development. [Real Estate NJ]

Liberty Property Trust pays $51.8M for pair of industrial assets
A Wayne, Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust completed a two-building acquisition in Bergen and Middlesex counties last week totaling 270,254 square feet, REBusiness Online reported. Liberty Property Trust’s acquisitions included 115 Moonachie Avenue in Moonachie for $39.6 million and 75 Ethel Road in Edison for $12.2 million. CBRE Group’s Tom Monahan, Stephen D’Amato and Larry Schiffenhaus represented Liberty in the Moonachie purchase, which added 168,800 square feet to Liberty’s portfolio in the Meadowlands, while Lou and Scott Belfer handled the REIT’s expansion in Edison, where Liberty snagged a 101,454-square-foot, 22-foot clear property along I-287. Real Estate NJ reported that Liberty’s acquisition in Edison comes just a few months after the firm bought the 369,000-square-foot 1 Truman Drive South for an undisclosed sum from Cohen Asset Management and JPMorgan Asset Management. The Real Deal reported last month on New Jersey’s booming industrial property market and a 2018 fourth quarter market report by CBRE found that the Meadowlands and Exit 10 submarkets leased 2.5 million square feet and 5 million square feet, respectively, last year. Liberty was once a leading developer along the Camden waterfront in South Jersey, but the REIT announced in late 2018 that it would shed its assets in the city and nearby Philadelphia in order to focus on expanding its industrial portfolio nationwide. [REBusiness Online]