“We’re done”: Seller comes to grips with NJ mansion saga

Grandiose plan didn’t go as hoped for apartment magnate

Kamson founder Richard Kurtz and 1 Frick Drive (Sotheby's International Realty)
Kamson founder Richard Kurtz and 1 Frick Drive (Sotheby's International Realty)

Bigger isn’t always better, as a businessman who bought, built and abandoned a massive estate in New Jersey now admits.

The story involves a 60-acre Alpine property once owned by the family of steel magnate Henry Clay Frick, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A home on the site just sold for $27.5 million to an unknown buyer, offering a window into the saga of seller Richard Kurtz, the founder of New Jersey-based apartment owner and manager Kamson.

Kurtz purchased the entire estate in 2006 for $58 million and split the property into smaller — but not small — parcels. Kurtz and his then-wife carved out six acres and spent $27 million to construct a 30,000-square-foot mansion with a saltwater pool, tennis court and indoor basketball court.

But Kurtz spent most of his time at homes in other states and never formally moved in. After just a few years, he realized the absurdity of having a 30,000-square-foot pied-a-terre.

“It was kind of silly to have such a big home when I’m not there all the time,” Kurtz told the Journal. His primary residence was in Palm Beach, though he owns another home in Alpine.

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More than a decade ago, the apartment mogul then put the Alpine palace on the market for what proved to be a ridiculous price: $68 million. “Way too much,” Kurtz admitted to reporter E.B. Solomont.

In 2013 he tried again, listing the home for $43 million and then for $49 million. Nobody bit.

Kurtz pointed to the property taxes — one year, he paid $340,000 — as the reason it didn’t sell. He appealed his assessment and won a reduction. “Even if you’re wealthy, you don’t want to overpay your taxes,” Kurtz told the paper.

Humbled, but perhaps not humbled enough, Kurtz listed it for $36 million (the highest asking price in the state) just before the pandemic. Ultimately, he accepted an offer of $27.5 million — meaning after the commission (Dennis McCormack of Prominent Properties/Sotheby’s International Realty had the listing) and other expenses, Kurtz suffered a loss.

“It was sold for somewhere in the vicinity of what we spent to build it, so we’re not that far away,” Kurtz said. “It was a journey, but we’re done.”

[WSJ] — Holden Walter-Warner

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