Bergen County Luxury Home Sales Continue Death Spiral

If you currently own one of those $2+ million Bergen County luxury homes you’re not going to be happy with this news.

Plain and simple…the luxury market in the Bergen County suburbs sucks.  And it’s been sucking wind even prior to the market crash.  That’s a long time to not even see a whisper of a turnaround.

Towns like Alpine, Saddle River, Franklin Lakes, Englewood and Tenafly are going to take another huge hit on this.

For a multitude of reasons, like the hotter than hot New York City market (future post), this price range was hit hard and 6 years later it still hasn’t recovered.

Proof In The Numbers:

Luxury Home Sales: $2.0m-$2.999m

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.08.42 PM


Luxury Home Sales: $3.0m+

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Don’t get too excited that the number of homes sold for over $3 million remain even with 2013 home sales, because the next few slides highlight the problems:

Luxury Homes For Sale

Homes for sale priced:

  • $2.0m-$2.999: a staggering 113 homes are for sale and as of Sept 20th. Only 31 homes in this price range have sold thus far in 2014.  The supply far exceeds the demand.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.17.46 PM


The worst news is for homes priced above $3.0 million

  • 106 homes are currently for sale priced above $3,0 million.
  • ONLY 16 homes have sold in this price range as of Sept 20th

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Who’s going to buy all of these home so the market can stabilize?  Unfortunately the buyers aren’t there.  They’re parking their money in Manhattan real estate

Some good signs from this:

  • NYC real estate is still a great investment if you can afford it
  • Towns like Hoboken and Jersey City will flourish with a great rental market
  • And lower priced homes will be at a premium

35′ max building height in Englewood Cliffs would suck

All of the hoopla and arguments being made in Englewood Cliffs for not allowing  future commercial development to exceed 35 ft  in height is misguided when you know the facts:

  • First you have to know what 35′ really is
  • Second you have to fully understand what the cause and effect will be
  • Third, people need to know if this is an absolute number or can someone still exceed this height

Sometimes you think you’re getting something you’re really not

This post will address the first item…what is 35′ and what does it look like:

Here’s what 35′ translates into in the real world:

Home for sale Englewood Cliffs
Home for sale Englewood Cliffs

35′ is the height of a typical home in Englewood Cliffs East Hill home north of Palisades Avenue…PLUS a few extra few feet.  A 30-32 ft home in  Englewood Cliffs gives you a squatty fairly ugly home with a roof-line that is almost invisible roof and a look that only someone in Englewood Cliffs would love.  They accept this look but I’m not so sure how many actually love it.  This is a short height!

36'-40' long tandem parking spaces
36′-40′ long tandem parking spaces

35′ is almost the identical depth of 2  tandem parking spaces that you typically find in a  retail or commercial  parking lot.two front to front parking spaces is almost not high enough for a modern home let along a modern office building.  This is short too!

Are we claustrophobic yet!

  • 35′ is the distance you’re supposed to stay behind the car in front of you traveling at approx 15 mph.  That’s not too much either.  No need for a photo.  Slow down because that’s short!

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 12.41.39 PM

35′ is 5′ longer than half the length of a bowling alley from the foul line to the head pin.  WOW that’s really short!


Can you imagine a lot of people being stuffed into such a small  space!

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35′ is 15′ shorter than the width of a pro basketball court…and it’s 20 feet longer than a foul shot.  That’s short!

Can’t fit much in that amount of space either!

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In football…35′ is a 10 yard run and a stumble.  I know that’s considered a long run for the Jets…but not for the height of an office building

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35 ft is the length of 2 Mercedes S550 cars that are a staple sight   parked in the driveway of many Englewood Cliffs homes.

And you don’t even get this if 35′ includes the rooftop units that are placed on top of a commercial building

Unilever, Englewood Cliffs
Unilever, Englewood Cliffs


Even the existing Unilever building in Englewood Cliffs would be considered to tall!



A 35′ maximum height for commercial development would kill Englewood Cliffs property values and it would create even more ugly buildings.  Hey, but the good news is…people in New York wouldn’t have to look at your ugly buildings!

BTW…Walmart stores are about 35′ high.  It’s something to think about!

Arguments against LG headquarters fail against the facts

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I was browsing through the Sunday NY Times a few weeks ago and came across an article in the Real Estate section (sorry I don’t remember the name) about one of the areas north of the GWB along the Hudson River…and the photo used in the article caught my attention.

The photo was meant to highlight the NY side of the Hudson River, but it also showed an often unseen view of the New Jersey side of the River which has suddenly become one of the most beautiful sites to some New Yorkers.

Who would have ever thought that New Yorkers now believe that New Jersey is beautiful to look at!  Go figure!

Guess what you see in this photo looking into New Jersey?

The Palisades and lmany high rise buildings that stand above the trees of the Palisades and act as a backdrop behind the tree line that  those who are protesting the LG corporate headquarters in Englewood Cliffs say doesn’t exist.

There must be 20 or so buildings that are visible along the Palisades from Fort Lee through Englewood Cliffs…and Saint Peters College (you can’t see in this photo), which is smack dab visible in the middle of the Palisades.  And once you approach the Tappan Zee there hundreds of homes and dozens of existing buildings visible to New Yorkers

Buildings above the tree line exist.  This is nothing new except to those who want to take  property rights away from New Jersey land owners so no one in New York has to look at buildings as a backdrop.

These buildings exist!  The LG protesters call them high rises and towers just to scare people but they’re lower than most of the buildings on the NY side of the Hudson.  What New Yorkers normally consider high rises and towers are those really tall buildings that have sprouted up everywhere in NYC for a century and are getting taller by the minute, especially around NYC’s prized Central Park.  An 8-10 story building in New Jersey isn’t a tower or a highrise that is unless you’re the ones protesting it…then it becomes a monster building that will turn our State into something really ugly.  It’s amazing that some New Yorkers suddenly care so much about New Jersey.

To the LG protesters, I say check out the upper right part of the photo that was taken by the NY Times and look at all of those buildings…that stand above the tree line.

This vista remains spectacular and sexy and won’t make anyone in New York look at this view in disgust or force them to turn the other way because the LG building will have a Kryptonite effect if you look at it.

And believe me, when you all go to sell your  apartments along the Hudson you’ll  point out the spectacular view of New Jersey as the most amazing view around.  And you’ll charge more for your homes because of that view!




Englewood Cliffs protesters mislead public about Samsung’s new corp headquarters

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Samsung’s new 10 story corporate headquarters in San Jose


Englewood Cliffs protesters are either being misled or they don’t understand the Samsung corporate headquarters project they want LG to emulate.

In a bizarre comment on regarding the new LG headquarters in Englewood Cliffs NJ, Spokesperson Carin Geiger Of Concerned Residents of Englewood Cliffs wants…

” …LG to follow the example of Samsung in Silicon Valley, where Samsung is building a low-rise headquarters”

What Ms Geiger admires most of Samsung’s new corporate headquarters which is now under construction (as viewed on their website) is it’s height…however if someone cared to fact check the comments as reported on is the new Samsung headquarters is 10 stories high, and is by no means a low-rise building.  As witnessed on several anti LG websites that looks are deceiving to the inexperienced eye…or for those who don’t care to fact-check what they say and print.

New 10 story Samsung headquarters doesn't look that tall but it's 10 stories high
New 10 story Samsung headquarters doesn’t look that tall but it’s 10 stories high

Samsung Building Facts:

  • An old 200,000 sf building will be replaced with a new 10-story 170’ high 680,000 sf building.  LG’s building is lower…143′ high

  • The Town of San Jose and the State of Ca. will will give millions of dollars of tax incentives to Samsung for locating their new headquarters in San Jose.  LG is not asking for any taxpayer dollars

Obviously Samsung’s new headquarters “look” more appealing to Ms Geiger because it looks lower to her…yet it is 10 stories high  and even taller at 170′, than LG’s building…and Samsung’s project contains an additional 8 story tall 1,000′ long parking structure.

  • The Samsung project is more dense and taller as a whole and more in-your-face than the LG project
  • Does Ms Geiger and her group approve of the vast amount of land that the Samsung building eats up
  • LG had the sense to vary the size and heights of their buildings so to not create a huge monolithic massive structure and to buffer the buildings with a virtual forest so it’s not in everyone’s face when driving along 9W…as everything else is on 9W

The New York protesters only concern is to not see the building above the trees, and don’t care what the residents are left with should the building be lowered or far worse…if LG vacates this site.  Do New Yorkers care if a Walmart and Sam’s super center is built on the property?  I doubt they care.

 I PERSONALLY  LOVE Samsung’s plan and how they invite the public to enjoy their space.  This is an incredible idea…and it’s something that Englewood Cliffs would never approve because of an outdated mindset.

If not LG than what: are thousands of housing units or hundreds of thousands of sf of big box retail stores, along with high taxes and massive  traffic part of Englewood Cliffs future?

LG protesters: A bogus argument and a dreadful aftermath?

The title was included with the photo on flicker as reported by Business Insider
The title was included with the photo on flicker as reported by Business Insider

Someone who is protesting the height of the LG building in Englewood Cliffs that sits beyond the limits of the Palisades was accusing me on twitter of posting an unrealistic photo angle of a view of Saint Peter’s University from across the Hudson River in Manhattan…a set of buildings that sits within boundaries of the Palisades.

My concern is why the local local media outlets haven’t fact-checked the protesters claims and they haven’t reported on the ramifications to the environment if LG spreads out their building or worse…what happens if LG leaves

The protesters are against anyone anywhere along the backdrop of the Palisades from being able to build anything that peeks above the tree-line for as long as the eye can see, north of Fort Lee.  They are stating that their view would be spoiled if they can see any part of a structure from across the Hudson River. Those protesters want an unchanged view.

My question is how would any view be any less majestic of the Palisades if a building were in sight…beyond the Palisades.

This photo which was not taken by me or altered in any way by me (photo by Steve Guttman NYC/Flicker) clearly shows that several building at Saint Peter’s University in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey are clearly visible to people in New York.  These buildings have been here and visible since 1975.

Saint Peter’s University is a magnificent view from across the Hudson River

The main building which is the tallest structure is magnificent and does nothing to detract from the beauty of the Palisades…nor do any of the other buildings at this location.

Additionally there are many more structures of various types and sizes that are equally visible from across the Hudson as you go further north into New York approaching the Tappan Zee Bridge and beyond.

40 million people visit Central Park every year...and wouldn't give up this view for anything.  One partially seen building in NJ won't affect anyone's view of New jersey
40 million people visit Central Park every year…and wouldn’t give up this view for anything. One partially seen building in NJ won’t affect anyone’s view of New jersey

The land and zoning that the protesters want to control is owned by hundreds of thousands of residents, investors and companies and is located in a handful of towns. Their mission is to control what you can do with your land.

I do not profess to understand the real motives of the protesters but when they resort to twisting the facts and maliciously altering their photos to show incredibly unrealistic scenarios, their sincerity has to be questioned.


  • LG will not be the only building that can be seen on the Palisades from across the Hudson.  Tens of thousands of buildings sit on, in the middle of and below the Palisades from Jersey City to the Tappan Zee Bridge
  • The LG property sit outside of the Palisades boundary
  • There are only 1 or 2 other properties (both in Englewood Cliffs) that are potentially feasible for high rise development from Englewood Cliffs to the Tappan Zee
  • Most of the other land is either deeded as parks or nature reserves, and all other land is considered worthless for such development
  • Putting an outdated 35′ height limit on future development would lower the value of all commercial real estate and would make the remaining large parcels candidates for other less desirable uses, AND Englewood Cliffs would be out of the running for future development and  investment.  The residents would feel the brunt of higher taxes
  • A New Yorkers view of the Palisades is not paramount to those in New Jersey

I’ll leave with this thought:
If LG decided to pull out of this deal and go somewhere else, will Englewood Cliffs be happier potentially with a big box retail project that could include a Wallmart and Sams Club and other retailers AND including a massive residential component because this is the only viable and vacant site that Englewood Cliffs has to meet their Mount Laural affordable housing obligations…all 1,500 units would have to be part of a high rise community on this one site.

Is this the future of the LG site in Englewood Cliffs
Is this the future of the LG site in Englewood Cliffs

Are the local residents so naive to unknowingly be brought into a blunder of a situation that will place mega tax, traffic and lifestyle ramifications on their community, by those who could care less what happens in its wake if LG leaves this location?

Whatever happens in the end will not change anyone’s lifestyle in New York.  However, what will happen to Englewood Cliffs is an entirely different story.

You won’t like what you get.

LG protesters big lie

The Big Lie

A 2nd generation altered propaganda photo
A 2nd generation altered propaganda photo

It’s one thing for opponents of the LG building to voice their concerns about development along the Palisades, which btw is already protected from development, but it’s another story when they resort to propaganda pieces that are blatantly misleading.

When such tactics are employed it is usually a dead giveaway that  the protesters arguments are floundering on their merits. In this instance that is exactly what is happening.

We see this happen all the time in politics, where they create their own set of “facts”…truth and honesty doesn’t matter.

When the line is blurred between truth and lies nothing is believable

This is a great case in point

The photo depicted above was found on a site that protesters of the LG building height paint as their reality.   But their reality is nothing more than a grotesque twist on the truth.

Photoshopped photos distort reality

Plopping down 20+ skyscrapers in a small area along the Palisades that is impossible to develop and where no persons or no company wants to be en masse is pure propaganda. The motives for doing this have to be questioned.

Parks and nature centers can’t be developed nor can any development take place within the Palisades Interstate Park. This holds up to a fact check.

This photo is their lie

The protesters which are a well organized group backed by some incredibly well connected donors want you to believe the lie: that this single LG building will suddenly cause all of these other buildings to be built.

They cannot offer up one single fact to back up their vision of future over-development along the Palisades.

  • There are no applications for such projects
  • There are no talks in progress amongst towns or developers contemplating such insane ideas
  • The demographics and desire to make these projects feasible do not exist…thus making this an impossible scenario.

 Protesters have conjured up a lame scenario to mislead the public into believing a lie

  • This amount of construction would make Manhattan jealous!
  • Tens of millions of square feet of residential and commercial skyscrapers that will never happen!

People resort to propaganda when their arguments can’t stand up to the facts.

This is their big lie





New LG building should be built

As already approved the LG building is the best case scenario for all parties concerned and for the future of the Palisades

I just came across a video on titled…

Compromise In LG Headquarters Construction?… click to read

Reporter Sibile Marcellus and Bill Spadea and their counterparts on a Chasing New Jersey segment brilliantly laid out the the arguments against those groups who are trying their best to circumvent New Jersey’s land use laws to prevent LG from building their US corporate headquarters as it was approved after numerous public meetings and then the approvals being upheld in a recent New jersey court ruling.

As Ms Sibili and her colleagues put it…”LG has the right to build what was approved”.

BTW…I love seeing the format being used on the Chasing New jersey segments.  They cover a story from all angles and present it in a way that’s easy for viewers to digest.  The story resonates.  They assembled a great team at

My Thoughts:

  • This project clearly sits outside the boundary of the Palisades Park, therefore nothing within the boundary of the protected area will be destroyed.  In fact LG is going out of their way to take on the monumental task of planting 700+ new trees on the property, which is probably 690 more trees than were originally on this site when it was developed for a Citi Group back office but has been vacant for half a decade.  I do not know of any other developer or corporation that has gone so far above what would have been required by the town for a site plan approval…and that is evident by looking at the newest Unilever buildings and the CNBC site…in which the land was raped by past  zoning requirements

Mayor Parisi is correct to point out that if a developer were to have purchased this land, which would happen if LG throws in the towel and leaves Englewood Cliffs and New Jersey altogether, the developer could  apply to build and rather easily get approvals for 1,500+ affordable homes on the site.   Does anyone care to talk about how 1,500 units could fit on less than 18 acres (not all 27 acres can be used).

How about 3-4 of these buildings on the LG site.  It can happen!
How about 3-4 of these buildings on the LG site. It can happen!


  • Many highrises
  • Many VERY TALL highrises that would dwarf what was approved on the LG site…like the 400′ highrise now being built in Fort Lee that has a scant 450 units.  A second 400′ tower will be started shortly on that site bringing the total number of units to only 900.
  • It would take 3+-400′ tall buildings on the LG site to meet the affordable housing requirements that Englewood Cliffs has skirted for so long
  • If you could cut the buildings in half then the developer would need 8-20 story 200′ high buildings to meet a state required number of affordable housing units
  • The property would lose all of its green space

And how would that look from across the Hudson River?

This wouldn’t be the first time in history where the well intended  actually create a worse scenario than had they not pushed for something unreasonable.

As I’ve stated in the past, the best course of action would be for the opponents to create a zone in perpetuity to the north of Englewood Cliffs (Tenafly, Alpine and into New York State) where there has been no past development…and make sure that these areas will never be developed…even outside of the Palisades Park boundaries.

This is the correct battle.

This is doable and it’s practical.

However if they stay the course and fight LG,  this will surely hit the courts again, and LG will win again because they are within their rights to develop what was approved.  The laws are clear on this.

And when the opponents lose this fight they will only have themselves to blame for getting nothing…and turning this into a nightmare situation for them going forward.

Do they want to take that risk and gain nothing…I would hope not.

The smart money says work to preserve undeveloped land to the north of Englewood Cliffs.  That’s the battle they should fight…and one they can win.

New York views of LG are not paramount to the destruction of land in Englewood Cliffs

Some New Yorkers are doing their best to make sure that we resident in a small pocket of northern New Jersey live behind the trees and not be able to enjoy our own great views of their wonderful State across the Hudson River.

None of today's great architects would design something like this.  It's a disaster for all.
None of today’s great architects would design something like this. It’s a disaster for all.

A few observations:

  • It’s their “view” not ours, and they are trying to take control of how we use our land
  • New Yorkers think it’s their right to control what happens with development in New Jersey
  • They are drawing lines that they want to see, and not what is necessarily good for New Jersey and Englewood Cliffs

Now that the LG project has been blown out of proportion we have to be aware of the consequences of an outsider’s agenda:

Here’s a photo of what LG has been granted the approval to build…and the reality is, no one has the power to void that approval under our laws:  Considerably more green space and less paved areas is something that every town, company and great architect strives for.

LG's project is filled with green spaces that are rarely seen in development
LG’s project is filled with green spaces that are rarely seen in development
Compare this to Unilever and CNBC.  A world of difference
Compare this to Unilever and CNBC. A world of difference

No town that I know of wants developers to “spread out their project and take up as much land as they can”.  Though this happens from time to time, and I’ve been involved in some monumental spread which I think is wrong, developers, planners and municipalities have learned that “pancaking” a project is a major offense to the environment…but that’s what these outsiders want Englewood Cliffs to live with. They don’t care how it affects you because they don’t live here.

There isn’t one well known architect in Manhattan who would agree that the best way to design a major project in today’s world is to rape the land of its natural resources.  It goes against everything we have learned from the past

It would be shameful to build something this outdated in today's world of conservation
It would be shameful to build something this outdated in today’s world of conservation

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Is this the legacy that New Jersey and Englewood Cliffs wants for their State and Towns?

Allowing other states and disinterested parties to invoke their will into our government  is something that can’t be allowed.  If it’s this easy, it won’t end with the LG project.

The big lie about the LG project

New York wants to  control New Jersey development laws
New York wants to control New Jersey development laws

As I drove back to New Jersey across the Tappan Zee Bridge I noticed thousands of homes and numerous high rises that have been built all along the Palisades (all in New York I might add) and are clearly visible from the NY side of the eastern banks of the Hudson River.  There are even homes and retail buildings that have been built on piers way out into the water in Piermont New York and all along the base of the Palisades…all in New York.

And homes continue to be built on at the base, into and on top of the Palisades  every year…and most are visible to anyone who chooses to stare at them. People want those views and they pay a premium for the views from these office and retail buildings and from the homes and apartments.

The New Yorkers who are protesting the LG project want the views to themselves and want to deprive New Jersey residents of the same.  They want us only to have a street level view of trees…and only as we pass by them while in a car or on a bike.  They want the great view while leaving us with a crappy roadside view

All of this has happened and continues to happen along the Palisades in New York by New Yorkers. A bit hypocritical don’t you think?

There is a wide splice of this vista that all the noise is about that is already protected from development…people don’t want to live there companies don’t want to relocate there and the property is worthless for development.

What we really have here is that some New Yorkers want to spread out their vista of what they don’t want to see.  They want to change the game.

We already have in place building and zoning restrictions and NOW these outside groups want to spread these restrictions to other areas that adjoin what is already covered.

It’s basically… Wherever it can be seen, we don’t want to see it.

Just imagine if this type of “vista or visual’ zoning existed in Manhattan there would be little or no high rise buildings…especially around Central Park! No One57…or any other buildings around Central Park.

The most expensive real estate in the world isn’t available for anyone in North Jersey to see because of trees.

This will Never happen in New Jersey because of no one wants to be in New Jersey bad enough!

One57: Tell me this isn't a spectacular view from Central Park
One57: Tell me this isn’t a spectacular view from Central Park
New Yorkers die to have a view of highrises. View from One57
New Yorkers die to have a view of highrises. View from One57

These groups really want the public to mistakenly believe that when the LG building is built….”high rises everywhere will immediately begin popping up all within their vista that we want to protect”.

Sorry this will never happen,                                 so get over it!

Flood of misinformation about LG project Englewood Cliffs

I just came across a blog called Protect the Palisades…from a group  outside of New Jersey who are protesting the LG project in Englewood Cliffs.

This site is filled with misinformation meant to mislead viewers into believing that the Palisades have always been protected and that after the LG project is built, high rise buildings will pop up everywhere along the Palisades.  They even show a little before and after photo filled with highrise buildings.  What they don’t tell you is that this has been happening for decades.

A monstrous exaggeration meant to scare the unknowing
A monstrous exaggeration meant to scare the unknowing

Here’s some facts:

False: “Such an act would undo a century of conservation efforts and violate the longtime trust respected by others for generations”

Truth: The Palisades begin in Jersey City and end long past the Tappan Zee Bridge.  From the very northern edge of Fort Lee all the way south to Jersey City (where the Palisades begin) there are thousands of buildings over 35′ high including homes that have been built below, into and on top of the Palisades for over 100 years.

LG 2.002

Just a short par 4 south of the LG property are numerous high rise buildings between 6-8 stories high.

Highrises have been built nearby LG for decades
Highrises have been built nearby LG for decades

The reality is, towns from Fort Lee, Edgewater, and everywhere south to Jersey City have embraced new development for decades and even begged for it.  Englewood Cliffs for the most part has hindered it’s ability for modern development because of its outdated zoning.  Unilever has been in Englewood Cliffs forever and the town did welcome CNBC…but they allowed a site plan that basically scorched the land with a huge spread out ugly building and ginormous parking lots.  Poor planning at its best.

False: A 35 ft’ height ordinance is not exclusive to Englewood Cliffs and has nothing to do with the height of the trees along the  Palisades.

True: Towns like Tenafly, Cresskill, Englewood etc have similar height restrictions, and people get variances to build higher.

Highrises are more efficient and they conserve the open space that we all crave.  Lowering a building and spreading it out over a larger piece of land has become taboo and is contrary to what most communities want.

Scorched earth development ruins the environment
Scorched earth development ruins the environment

False: Highrise buildings will be popping up everywhere after the LG building is built.

True: Incredibly misleading.  First, hasn’t everyone noticed that people are fleeing the suburbs for more urban settings.  Second, commercial tenants have no desire to be in this particular area…let alone anywhere in New Jersey.  However, can you imagine the economic improvement if this did happen.  We in New Jersey couldn’t be so lucky!

Additionally, there are no State mandated zoning laws in New Jersey.  Our style of Home Rule enables every town to create their own destiny.  There are 500+ municipalities and every one of them has their own say.

After this debacle no developer or company in their right mind will look to develop a project in Englewood Cliffs. The town has nailed the coffin shut with this mess.