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March  31

Big Doings In Real Estate

Schade_house_1_2It's the stuff of real estate fantasies. Over in Glen Ridge, check out the big ticket sale of this grand Ridgewood Avenue manse that came complete with the ultimate in sweetheart deals. Read it about first, on Real Estate.

Meanwhile, with 97 comments and counting, readers had a lot to say about the possible demolition of 4 Duryea Road. Responses ranged from outrage at the demolition of the picturesque Victorian to pro-demo commenters insisting the house "needs to be knocked down," telling others to "mind their own business" and describing the historically-designated home as "a beautiful piece of crap."

Turns out there was at least one other buyer interested in 4 Duryea. A reader writes...


Dear Barista,

I can guarantee that no one in Montclair is as disturbed by the grisly crime taking place on Duryea as myself and my husband. The first time we entered the home we were overwhelmed by its grandeur.  You simply need to stand on the front porch and look at the "triple-arched front doors" to experience the magic.  It was truly one of the most inspiring homes I had seen in Montclair...and trust me ...I have seen quite a few homes in Montclair.  After careful consideration, my husband and I decided not to assume the challenge of the home.  We have renovated a number of homes and have a realistic expectation of the financial and emotional commitment that would be involved in restoring the home.  Instead, we placed an unsuccessful offer on another Montclair home. The following Saturday we toured the home again.  We took the weekend to consider an offer and attempt to locate a builder/architect to help us get a handle on the challenge. My phone rang on Monday morning.  It was my real estate agent.  She wanted to inform me that if I intended to make an offer on Duryea, it had to be submitted by 12 noon on that same business day.  I scrambled.  I contacted my husband at work and we discussed our offer.  I contacted my agent and submitted an offer of an even $1,000,000.  My agent called to tell me we had lost the home to a local contractor.  We were disappointed, but found some solace in the fact that the home would be restored by an individual with the tools and trades necessary to return the home to its' original splendor.  Keep in mind, we did not know the actual amount of the accepted offer.  Needless-to-say, we assumed that it had been for more than our own offer.  But wait, the plot thickens.

Three weeks ago my real estate agent contacted me.  Once again she was the bearer of bad news.  She wanted to be the one to tell me that the home on Duryea was going to be leveled and two new homes would be placed on the property.  I was heartsick.  It was inconceivable that the original homeowners would have sold their home with the knowledge that it would be demolished.  How could this have happened?  I considered writing a letter to the editor of the Montclair Times.  I considered contacting the contractor and telling him that I would purchase the home at my original offering price.  I decided to wait to speak my mind at the town meeting that would be required to discuss variances etc. 

That is when my agent called to tell me that the selling price of the home on Duryea had been printed on Baristanet.com.  The price was $995,000.  I was shocked.  I am no genius, but I am pretty sure that $1,000,000 is more than $995,000. Some homes have a soul.  A spirit that lives within their walls and welcomes you to enter them and share in their magic.  The home on Duryea has that special kind of soul.  I am hopeful that this story will have a happy ending.  Regardless of my place in this home's future, it deserves to stand for another 100 plus years to tell its story.


Eileen Painter

March 31, 2006 in Controversy | Permalink


There is lots of criticism being directed at the 'developer' who allegedly is going to level this house. From what I've been reading, one of the reasons the house didn't attract more buyers was that it needed significant (someone said structural) work.

Has anyone stopped to think about the current owners' culpability in letting their house deteriorate to the point where it needs so much work just to remain livable?

Had the sellers put the necessary maintenance into their house over the years, perhaps they could have sold to someone who wanted to keep the house as is.

It's as though a 'developer' were buying a car that hadn't had its oil changed in 10 years, and then people were angry at the developer for selling the car for scrap.

Posted by: TwinDad | Mar 31, 2006 10:14:31 AM

Those are good points TD. What is always odd to me is that people "get mad" at anyone regarding what they do with their own property. It's really not anyone's business unless a variance is required or a law is broken.

Also as to the letter (995k va 1MM) with only a a half of one percent difference in the offers the "price" is not the main concern in deciding to whom to sell the house. If I were selling and a developer with lots of cash were 5k short and the other offer was a couple for whom the mortgage might be a stretch, I'd go for the 995k in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 10:22:50 AM

That's because you're a heartless capitalist running dog lackey lickspittle. You could stand to be a bit more like lasermike and notteham and Jesus.

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 31, 2006 10:25:52 AM

This developer can do what they like with the private property they've purchased, despite all the rantings posted here. But their stock just went down in the eyes of a lot of people in this community. I used to admire the tasteful development work done by the RVN organization, but now I am embarrased for them and disappointed for our town.

If someone else was truly willing to buy and renovate that grand historic property, shame on Jim Van Note for stepping in to instead tear it down for a profit.

Posted by: a sad montclair resident | Mar 31, 2006 10:27:17 AM

A-a-a-a-n-n-n-d They're Off!!!!

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Mar 31, 2006 10:27:23 AM

This is an interesting topic that deserves serious discussion, but the creepy trolls have already poisoned the atmosphere with their nastiness and other forms of pathetic acting out. We'll discuss it on the other local newsgroups (I say this for those interested in trading views on this important topic, not schoolyard insults).

Posted by: trollhater | Mar 31, 2006 10:36:22 AM

Can you imagine if notte were one of the original disciples?

The apostles would have been encouraged to start and insurgency and strap "saltpeter" vests on themselves to be detonated in Rome.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 10:36:43 AM

Tollhater, sorry I can't help but joking it up a little. I didn't mean to detract from the seriousness of the topic. It's just that this topic isn't exactly new, and sometimes its nice to inject a bit of levity. And it's such a nice day and it's Friday and all...

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 31, 2006 10:39:56 AM


Walleroo's comment? It was a compliment! Much appreciated too. He is one of my dearest friends. He's the godfather to all of our pets. He regularly vists and entertains the children by decorating his bald head (and offering musical critique of their playing) . Why, just last weekend he helped me cut down 11 trees on my property.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 10:42:27 AM

I'm sure, you adorable little trollhater you, that on the Watercooler and "other local newsgroups" the conversation will be much more mannered. But it won't be near as probing or as much fun. Real estate seems to arouse such passions on this site up and down the political dividing line. That's not a good thing?

I like the "we" you used too, so peremptory. So mock chilling. But I do wonder who you imagine you're taking with you, and what schoolyard insults you read here. (My 2nd grade fave was probably "purse-faced whinny-ninny," but I didn't see that one above.)

Posted by: cathar | Mar 31, 2006 10:45:09 AM

Lies. All lies.

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 31, 2006 10:47:12 AM

I like cathar's fav line describing liberals:

"mouth-frothing wet-feathered liberals" Everytime I see that line I think of Mazie bathing Notteham

Posted by: Iceman | Mar 31, 2006 10:55:13 AM

I only see one creepy persona on here. Hint: It ain't the trolls.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 31, 2006 11:04:02 AM

A true New York City liberal is someone who thinks pigeons are wonderful birds.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Mar 31, 2006 11:10:06 AM

LOL, Conan.

As you know, I am most definitely NOT a liberal but I do think pidgies are cute. I know they carry disease and all but sometimes when I am typing at my computer in my office at home, they alight on the widow sill and coo at me and I think it's the most wonderful thing.

My boyfriend, however, does not my affections because well, you know what pidgeons do!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 31, 2006 11:14:52 AM

"Does not share my affections"

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 31, 2006 11:15:43 AM

Wouldn't it be nice to actually have a discussion about a topic important to residents?

Instead, out of 14 responses we have 11 troll posts about .... about what?

Posted by: anti-troll123 | Mar 31, 2006 11:16:30 AM

I think the discussion of tear-downs and civil rights has been exhausted already. I'm waiting for the story about a property that will be restored to its original glory to help preserve the charm and character of the town it resides in ...

Posted by: Jim | Mar 31, 2006 11:26:33 AM

Amen, Jum...give me a heads up as to when THAT will be written.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 31, 2006 11:27:36 AM


Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 31, 2006 11:28:01 AM


it seems like most of the posts which are "off topic" we're in response to the off-topic broadside by hater.

Of course, now there will most likely be some in response to your off-topic post such as mine. (this one).

If you feel the subject has gone off-topic then post something back on-topic.

After all, it seems hypocritical to criticize that which you are helping to further.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 11:28:10 AM

Like this anti, watch:

Here's an idea. Instead of seeking to block and punish a lack of preservation, why not offer tax funded incentives to encourage historic preservation?

Perhaps property tax abatement for the property in question for 5 years in exchange for meeting verifiable benchmarks of preservation.

If a potential homeowner can save $50K and put that towards the purchase price then their offer might look better to the seller than the developers.

Of course, there will be a bit of a dent in the town's coffers, but if we want preservation we should be willing to sacrifice something to get it, right?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 11:37:30 AM

The problem is that it's just such a freakin' nice day, dammit, and I for one am having a hard time caring about anything except how I can get the heck out of the office. Which posting here isn't going to help. But there you go.

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 31, 2006 11:39:09 AM

ROC, I agree. I think there actually is a bill pending that would offer private owners some kind of tax incentive for restoring historic homes. I'll see if I can dig it up on the NJ state website. There is already a law in place for encouraging adaptive reuse of historic buildings for commercial (including rental) buildings.

Posted by: mauigirl52 | Mar 31, 2006 11:59:40 AM

Like to see it Maui. Along with cost projections too.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 31, 2006 12:00:56 PM

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