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Real Estate

$39M sought for estate of silent film star

Gloria Swanson onced called rehabbed 1920s-era mansion her home


The 1926 24,000 square-foot 'Italian castle' that sits on five acres in Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, N.J., took its current owners two years to renovate the property. The estate includes a pool, gym, home theater, seven-car garage, and a lake home to waterfowl.

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HACKENSACK, N.J. — Looking to trade up? If you’ve got $39 million, you might take a gander at Gloria Crest, a 1926 Italianate castle

The property, a 28-room, 24,000-square-foot home on five acres in Englewood and Englewood Cliffs, is being sold by owners Edward and Jan Turen. Lovers of historic homes, the Turens bought it in 2000 and spent two years and millions of dollars on renovations.

According to tax records, the Turens paid $4.7 million for the property, which is now assessed at a total of about $7.5 million — just over $5.8 million for the section in Englewood and $1.7 million for the two acres in Englewood Cliffs. But Edward Turen, CEO of Control Equity Group in Secaucus, said the $39 million asking price is justified.

“There’s nothing like it in the tri-state area,” Mr. Turen, 63, said. “It’s a palace, with construction that can’t be replicated today.”

He said builders have told him that constructing such a home today would cost $40 million; the original construction cost, he said, was $2.5 million when it was built in 1926 by a Polish count. According to the book “The Architecture of Bergen County,” it was designed by Paterson architect J.C. Hameltman.

The Turens previously lived in another historic house in Tenafly, N.J., designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, one of the designers of the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

After they bought Gloria Crest, they embarked on a two-year renovation, replacing the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems while trying to retain the home’s 1920s character. The renovation cost millions of dollars, Mr. Turen said, though he declined to give an exact figure. The property includes a pool, gym, home theater, seven-car garage, and a lake that’s home to cranes, swans, geese, and ducks. Property taxes, according to the listing, are around $139,000.

Gloria Swanson is not the house’s only movie connection; Mr. Turen said Woody Allen filmed parts of his 2001 movie The Curse of the Jade Scorpion at the house.

With their three children all grown, the Turens are thinking of moving, possibly into a New York City town house. Edward Turen is willing to take on another old house that needs work, so he can customize it to fit his needs. “I love projects,” Mr. Turen said.

He said he has no idea how long the house will take to sell. He hopes the buyer will be someone who appreciates the beauty of an older home.

And if you think $39 million is a lot of money, consider this: Gloria Crest is only the second-most expensive listing in Bergen County. The Stone Mansion in Alpine, a new 12-bedroom, 30,000-square-foot home built on the old Frick estate, is on the market for $49 million, down from $68 million in 2010.

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