Thursday, March 27, 2008
Mary J. Blige Goes Big in Sadde River
BUYER: Mary J. Blige
LOCATION: Saddle River Road, Saddle River, NJ
PRICE: $13,900,000 (asking)
SIZE: 18,250 square feet (approx.), 8 bedrooms, 8 full and 3 half bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The ultimate estate! This magnificent stone and stucco country French manor features approx. 18,250 square feet of luxurious living space. Located on 4.2 beautiful acres, this one-of-a-kind estate features the ultimate in design and craftsmanship. This remarkable home offers the very best in luxury: huge gourmet chef's kitchen w/ fireplace, great reception rooms for entertaining, incredible master suite, movie theater with seating for fourteen, wine tasting room, fitness center, indoor basketball court, walk-out lower level, elevator, to all floors, huge swimming pool, full service cabana, 6 car and so much more! Truly Pinnacle's most spectacular estate!
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: According to the NY Daily News–and about 1000 other print and online gossip columns–wigged out, blinged up and fur wrapped hip hop chanteuse Mary J. Blige and her record-industry executive huzband Kendu Isaacs recently forked over $12,300,000 to purchase a monstrous mansion in swanky and suburban Saddle River, NJ. Your Mama knows some of the more pessimistic children are in a deep and existential panic about the real estate market and the availability, or lack of availability, of big mortgages. However don't any of you chicken littles out there need to wring your worried hands and fret that the Blige/Isaacs suffered any trouble or trauma securing a fat mortgage for their new crib because children, they paid cash. That's right, C.A.S.H., cash.
Many of you children prolly think all rich and famous folks pay cash for their cribs, digs and nests, however, it's actually less common than you might think. Some of you kids might be flabbergasted and flummoxed by just how many super rich celebs and bizness bigwigs service major mortgages of 4, 8 and 10 million clams. And more.
According to The Daily News and listing information for the 4.2 acre property, the Bronx born "Queen of Hip Hop Soul" drove a hard bargain for the newly built 18,250 square foot (approx.) post-Euro-modern-chateau-ish suburban sprawler. At one point, the property was listed at $17,000,000 and later reduced to $13,900,000 before Miz Blige and Mister Isaacs walked in with their big bundle of cash boodle and managed to convince the developer/seller to agree to a sale price of $12,300,000 for the newly constructed home.
Initially Your Mama was not able to come up with any photos of the property. Then we put dog with a bone researcher B.S. Beaverman on the case and luckily for all the hungry children, she turned up several photos and a floor plan. Everyone bow down to The Beaverman.
According to the floor plan, which Your Mama can not guarantee is 100% accurate to what was actually built, the first floor includes a library, a living room, a billiard room, a great room (which is really just a larger second living room) and a gallery/loggia with built in shelves which Your Mama thinks might be a nice spot for soo-blime Miz Blige to display her gold records and eight (eight!) Grammys. The family quarters include a hexagonal breakfast room and cozy family room, a commodious kitchen where Miz Blige's private chef could easily whip up a meal for 20 or 40 friends, and a maids room and bath next to the garage.
Upstairs the sprawling master suite is accessed by a large and grandiose circular stair case and includes a private sitting room with fireplace, a small terrace and dual bathrooms and walk in closets. Your Mama has to wonder if Miz Blige will be installing a temperature controlled fur closet for her extensive collection of animal pelts, a feature she could make certainly make good use of, but one we're quite certain the PETA people would have a hissy fit over. At the other end of the second floor are the family bedrooms which can also be accessed by a second separate stair tower. We count three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and walk in closet, a "learning center," and a two room guest apartment with a wet bar and a large bathroom. The listing for the property state the house includes 8 bedrooms and a whopping 8 full and 3 half bathrooms, so we can't be sure if the "learning center" remains in the final floor plan or if it was turned into another bedroom.
Listing information also reveals that the house is extremely well equipped to house someone who requires such unnecessary and dee-luxe amenities as five fireplaces, an elevator servicing all three floors, two laundry rooms, a bar, fitness center, wine tasting room (because only poor people taste wine in the kitchen don't you know), a 14 seat home theater and a private indoor basketball court in the basement.
The grounds include parking for 6 cars, a large swimming pool with a full service cabana, a "grand terrace" at the back of the house for summer time entertaining and 4.2 acres of manicured grounds. According to The Daily News Miz Blige and her huzband, whom she credits with helping her get her past drug issues under control, plans to make some additions/alterations that will allow her to squeeze her tour bus on to the property as well as beef up the security. And children, Your Mama should not need to tell you that the security at this estate will likely be extensive and state of the art, so don't get any crazy notions about driving out to Saddle River hoping to catch sight of Miz Blige as she glides in and out of her electronic drive gates because you can be assured you will be video taped looking like a damn fool with your digital camera stuck to your face.
The listing agent for the property denied any knowledge of the buyer's identity (natch), and Your Mama was unable to verify the sale through property and title records. However, local source told The Daily News that, "Everybody knows Mary J. Blige bought the house." Well, we got not reason to disbelieve anyone, but this is not Your Mama's first time at the celebrity real estate gossip fair, so we'll stick to being a wee bit skeptical until the all the paper work is filed with the local authorities, and you should too.
No offense to all you filthy rich Bergen County Bobs and Bettys, but Your Mama, who freely admits to not having $12,000,000 for any house, would rather amputate our own leg with a rusty nail than drive our big BMW home to gigantic mansion like this in suburban New Jersey. But that is of no matter because plenty of rich and famous folks aspire to and drop big bucks to acquire large and lavish houses in the upscale Saddle River area. Other residents in the area are said to include hip hop honcho Wyclef Jean, the curiously named rapper Ja Rule, professional basketballer Vince Carter, actor Danny Aiello, novelist Mary Higgins Clark, and rapper turned preacher Rev Run, whose Saddle River residence was is still being offered for sale at $5,500,000. And of course, who could forget the mind boggling 35,000 square foot House of Bling that (finally) dee-vorcing moguls Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons called home in happier times that remains for sale with an optimistic $23,888,000 asking price.
It appears from property records and a well connected source we call The Shaggy Dog that Your Mama keeps in our arsenal of tipsters that Miz Blige currently lives on Loman Court in a town Your Mama has never heard of and will probably never go called Cresskill, NJ. Records show that the 1.1 acre property was purchased in June of 2001 for $1,950,000. The Shaggy Dog tells us that Miz Blige is well known among her neighbors for having a large car carrier block the street when she and her entourage decamp en masse to her Los Angeles rental property. We also find addresses for Miss Blige for a modest house on Donald Drive in New Rochelle that we're told was purchased for Mama Blige. We also find an address for Miss Blige at the City Spire building on West 56th Street in Manhattan, but it appears that might be an address for the office of one of her people rather than a private residence for the always well turned out Miz Blige.
Anyhoo, this ladee has impressively pulled herself up by her Bronx born bootstraps and with raw talent, intense determination and sheer force of will has put herself in the enviable financial position to plunk down a huge amount of money for the house of her dreams. So while we may think the house is too big and too uglee, who are we to rain on Miz Blige's real estate dreams? That said, Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter sincerely wish Miz Blige and her man all the best and no more drama in their new home.