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January  30

Marlboro McMansions In Miniature

5 Wondering about the pricetag for the homes on steroids being built at the old Marlboro Inn site? Seems an even million a piece isn't quite enough for these mega-luxury estates (they look so much smaller in these artist renderings) expected to sell like hot cakes (or so goes the buzz machine). From the Star Ledger...

Out at the construction trailer for the 10-house division called "Hempstead at Montclair," Greg Paoli, the job supervisor for American Properties Realty Inc. of Iselin, wasn't sounding apologetic. "Good buzz. Good buzz on the street," he said of the 5,000-square-foot estates, all 10 of them priced at $1.7 million a pop for five bedrooms, the attic ones having 10-foot ceilings. Elevators optional.

Sales are to begin in mid-March. "No one in the company feels we're going to be here long after that," he said.

2 All the buzz isn't good of course. Folks on the Montclair Watercooler have dubbed the development, the Marlboro Monstrosities (well, it is more alliterative than Hempstead at Montclair...). Meanwhile, Read talks to the owners of the mega home being built at Watchung and Upper Mountain Aves, first documented here. Now, there's a definitive answer to just how big it will get...

The 12,000-square-foot house rising on the western edge of Watchung Avenue was approved before the 2 1/2-story limit took effect in August.

The one-time sprawling ranch was purchased by Melih Adbulhayoglu, CEO of an Internet security firm, and his wife, Lesley, who laid down $849,000 for the property in 2004 and went to work. "We're trying to make it fit in," he said.

The greatly expanded home is to include six bathrooms and two fireplaces, a sharp contrast to the small cottages of his native England, he said. "So we could enjoy the space that you guys have here."

And then there's the bar with a view of Manhattan. "Being from Britain, we like our pubs," said Adbulhayoglu, who is of Turkish descent but hails from Manchester. "We fell in love with it (Montclair) because it had this English feeling to it."

January 30, 2006 in Scooped by Phil Read, Again | Permalink


well shucks, of course they don't look bad in such a lovely sylvan setting. The rendering should show just how close it is to the other houses, without mature foliage out in front. I find it hard to believe that the customer that wants such a large house isn't also going to want a yard too.

Posted by: grcanary | Jan 30, 2006 10:25:45 AM

...forget about the lost space, what about the loss of hearing?!? Construction work is LOUD!

According to the Montclair Planning board - construction activities are permited 7am - 6pm Mon - Fri AND 9am - 4pm Sat - Sun. This is quite a generous amount of time afforded for construction activities. Has anyone stopped to consider what construction for 11 hours straight SOUNDs like?!?

Let me tell you from first hand experience - it's REALLY LOUD!!! We're not talking a few hammers here and there - I'm talking constant, incessant banging - not rhythmic, not predictable, just WHAM WHAM WHAM every few minutes. I'm talking heavy machinery so loud you can't hear the phone ring, let alone answer it. I'm talking about debris falling three stories into a dumpster, bricks being sawed in half, piles of materials being slammed down all over the place...that pretty pink siding on 119 Walnut was put up with electric nail guns, which sound very much like guns going off...

The weekday disturbance MIGHT be tolerable so long the weekend morning hours were relatively peaceful, but NO - construction guys consistently show up to begin work BEFORE the designated start time.

The Montclair Police don't seem able to enforce the construction times. I've talked to officers who thought work could begin at 8am as well as had patrol cars show up only to have construction start up as soon as they've left. What's the point?

According to the Township code, chapter 217 - Noise - violaters may be fined $1000 PER offense AND/OR JAILED for 90 days...

According to James Sherman a la leaf blower ban, "We feel that noise is a major quality-of-life issue." - Montclair Times 8/3/05. Maybe that only applies to leaf blower noise and not construction noise. I can see the difference...construction noise is so much more melodious that leaf blower noise.

If we're not going to scale back the time allowed for construction, progress full steam ahead - could we at least enforce the existing times?!?

Posted by: Construction_weary | Jan 30, 2006 10:31:47 AM

I guess I'll move to this thread.

I have just posted a scan of one of the presentation renderings that I marked up several years ago;


The diagonal lines on the left indicate that the homes will only occupy about half of the distance between Grove Street and the West end of the property.

Now this is only an 'artist's' conception, but the buildings look very much like what we are seeing built. Not the same, but in the family.

This is not a measured plan, but working the perspective backwards, the homes appear to about half the size of the nearly finished structures.

Pictures are much more pleasant to look at than technical drawings. I am sure than many of the neighbors we're very reassured by this sketch (and others, probably.

The technical drawings would have had to be much more accurate.

The lines on the right side of the sketch indicate that the typical home would appear to be about half as wide as the built structures. From this analysis and knowing the size of the property, one could deduce these would be very small homes.

Or one could conclude that the rendering was a false impression.

Posted by: Kevin Lee Allen | Jan 30, 2006 10:46:12 AM

I remember seeing a preliminary site plan and rendering on the Watercooler, posted by Mr. Plofker himself. I just checked thoroughly and can't find it now, and am waiting for the BD's to get back to me on whether it was purposely removed, or purged per some type of time table. Meantime, for some reason when I had looked at those original plans, it looked to me like the houses were going to be more like 1800-2000 square feet, not 5000. I also thought they were going to be marketed around $500K. Kevin, I think you're right, that the plans changed or were initially out of scale.

My own uneducated opinions here, of course.

Posted by: Kay | Jan 30, 2006 11:10:52 AM

You can find them on the Watercooler in the Photos Section (left hand side of the Web page. Click, and then look for the album "Marlboro Inn Proposal."

Posted by: cary | Jan 30, 2006 11:19:51 AM

Not if you're Ed Remsen


Posted by: Watchung&Grove | Jan 30, 2006 11:48:17 AM

That IS funny!

Posted by: cary | Jan 30, 2006 11:55:06 AM

I cant agree more with the apathetic, limp reaction by the police to construction issues. We had equipment being picked up and dropped off at literally 4am and workers starting at 7am on weekends. Something needs to be done!!!
The police couldnt care less.

Posted by: Contstruction Weary II | Jan 30, 2006 11:56:48 AM

I've never seen such large homes in such close proximity to each other. It looked to me that two of the homes were less than 20 feet from each other. I'm mortified by this blatant abuse of aesthetic and zoning. I really feel bad for the local residents that have to put up with this travesty.

Posted by: RadonMan | Jan 30, 2006 12:00:09 PM


Actually just drive down Grove North just before watchung (look on the east side) and you'll see plenty of houses close and closer. Not as tall though. Although many of those (tall and close) can be found in town as well.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 30, 2006 12:04:37 PM

Thanks, Cary!

Posted by: Kay | Jan 30, 2006 12:17:25 PM

Those that are tall and close and already in town have yards: back, front and possibly side.

It appears that these monstrosities have none or maybe they are the new Montclair Virtual backyards!

Posted by: Watchung&Grove | Jan 30, 2006 12:20:21 PM

All true W&G, but maybe everyone doesn't want a big yard. Must everyone live by diktat of the masses?

Personally I don't think they will be so bad. Not my cup of tea, but I am not applying and value judgement on the *implied* lifestyle or taste choices. (such as the, in my view, elitist term McMansion). I don't presuppose my taste is objectively any better than anyone else's.

I see lots of houses in town which are not to my liking.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 30, 2006 12:27:42 PM

Those renderings are realistic, so long as it's understood that the blooms of the landscaping flowers (which look vaguely like impatiens) actually are the size of Alaskan cabbages.

Posted by: Appletony | Jan 30, 2006 12:29:23 PM

The drawings are actually VERY nice - with all that lawn and trees it looks like each house is on a minimum 1/2 acre lot....which for 10 houses implies 5 acres for the total site. Actually the site is about half that big.

So the density is twice what the developer represented, and the community gets screwed. Very cute!

Have any lessons been learned here? There will surely be more proposals/scams like this coming, so what will the Town do differently next time?

Posted by: Backsore | Jan 31, 2006 8:06:58 AM

I'll go along with much of the tread BUT there are some residences that I do not feel sorry for. In particular the one that told me early on that they did NOT want any help from anyone outside of those in the immediate area. I think they couldn't wait to have the Inn torn down. Having it designated as an Historical area would have been too inconvenient for them.

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