This mansion is the most expensive house sold in NJ last year. Here's what $26M bought
The most expensive address in New Jersey is a Mahwah mansion steeped in Gilded Age grandeur.
The Crocker-McMillin mansion, a 58-room, four-story brick palace that has drawn comparisons to the royal estate in Versailles, was sold for $26 million in late December, earning the title of the priciest home sold in the Garden State last year.
The historic property at 675 Ramapo Valley Road, also known as the Darlington estate, has been on the market since 2018, when it was listed at $48 million. Once used as a seminary, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the largest homes in the United States.
The sale was confirmed by listing agent Sonja Cullaro of Christie’s International Real Estate in Ridgewood and the buyer’s agent, Christine Frosini of Sotheby's International Realty Prominent Properties in Saddle River. They declined to comment, noting that the deal includes a rare non-disclosure agreement.
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Bergen County property tax records list the purchaser only as “Taurus Fund LLC.”
Perched on 12.5 acres, with views of the Ramapo Mountains, the mansion was built between 1901 and 1907 by railway heir George Crocker, who spared no expense constructing the home of his dreams.
The 50,000-square-foot structure includes a massive great hall and dining room, a library with gold-leaf décor, marble staircases, an indoor spa and sauna, a tea room, a billiards hall, a movie theater, a wine room, 21 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms, as well as a 45-foot-tall organ. Outdoors are a tennis court, fountains and an eight-car garage, according to real estate listings.
Lifestyle magazines over the years have likened the property to Versailles, the royal palace in France (though Louis XIV had 2,300 rooms at his disposal). Its actual model was Bramshill House, a 17th-century Jacobean mansion in southern England.
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Taxes on the Crocker estate were more than $263,000 last year.
The property was purchased in 2008 by Ilija Pavlovic, the broker-owner of Christie’s International Real Estate of Northern New Jersey. He bought the mansion for $8.8 million from developer Darlington Associates.
Pavlovic spent years restoring the home to its old glory with a top-to-bottom renovation that added modern amenities. In 2018, he told the Wall Street Journal that he took care to preserve the home’s sumptuous decorations, including ornate wood carvings and the great hall organ, the only known 1906 Aeolian player pipe organ in the U.S.
Italian woodcarvers who had worked on Italy’s parliament building as well as the Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria hotels were hired for the restoration.
The project upgraded plumbing and mechanical systems throughout and included the installation of 476 new windows, Pavlovic told the Journal.
At $26 million, the home sold for just 31 times the median single-family home in Mahwah, valued at $850,000 in 2021.
The estate and its rich history are well known in town, said Janine Fraser, a Mahwah resident and agent at Coldwell Banker Realty in Allendale. Mahwah is attractive to buyers because it’s close to New York City yet offers a wooded, natural feel, she said.
The home was a product of the vast industrial fortunes amassed in dawn-of-the-20th century America. George Crocker was a businessman whose father co-founded the Central Pacific Railroad Co., which helped build the first transcontinental railway in the U.S.
After George died in 1909, banker Emerson McMillin lived on the estate until his death in 1922. It was then taken over by the Immaculate Conception Seminary, a school founded as part of Seton Hall University. The seminary operated at the Crocker Mansion until 1984.
Though the property was the most expensive home sold in Bergen County last year, its value has already been eclipsed in 2022. The 30,000-square-foot Stone Mansion, located on the Frick Estate in Alpine, sold for $27.5 million earlier this month.
Mary Chao 趙 慶 華 covers the Asian community and real estate for NorthJersey.com.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Crocker Mansion in Mahwah NJ sold for $26 million