It’s been referred to as the Motown Mansion.
A two-story, 16-room home built and lived in by onetime Motown Records president William “Kedar” Massenburg is for sale in Saddle River, Bergen County. Asking price is $4,995,000.
“There were parties there with a host of superstar celebrities — Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder … ” notes real estate agent Michael “Mr. Saddle River” Randy, who is the listing agent for the property brokered by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Allendale. “There’s still a piano inside the house that Stevie Wonder used to play on for all the guests.”
While it’s uncertain if the keyboard will be included as part of the house sale — “I can’t comment on the future of the piano until a buyer and the current seller decide,” Randy says — the five-bedroom home on 2 acres has hit-making potential in its own right.
Located on a double cul-de-sac in Saddle River’s Chestnut Ridge section, the stately brick and limestone 10,000-square-foot structure was built in 1999.
Entering the mahogany double front doors, visitors are greeted by an opulent foyer with a domed silver leaf ceiling and wrought-iron staircase leading to the second level. The ground level holds an award-winning kitchen (more on that later), a living room, dining room, family room, bedroom, billiards room with bar and the “music room,” where the piano graced by Stevie Wonder’s fingertips resides.
The second floor has three en-suite bedrooms and a 3,000-square-foot master suite wing with lounge, multiple walk-in closets, bathroom finished in onyx and marble and access to a balcony.
The exterior features a courtyard with a three-tiered fountain, swimming pool with a spa and cabana, and a garage that can accommodate eight vehicles.
Massenburg had the home built just a couple of years after he was named president and CEO of Motown at age 36 in 1997.
A Brooklyn native, Massenburg quickly made a name for himself in the music industry after starting his own entertainment enterprise in the mid-1990s. According to Billboard, he was responsible for fostering the careers of such notable artists as Erykah Badu and D’Angelo. He’s also credited with coining the term “neo soul” to describe the music genre that marries hip hop and electronic music styles to traditional rhythm and blues.
Massenburg left Motown in 2004 and put the Saddle River property up for sale in 2010. He’s since headed his own record label, founded his own beverage company and has become involved in films, most recently as a producer for the Al Sharpton documentary, “Loudmouth .”
The mansion at 11 E. Denison Drive has continued to attract attention. It was featured on the “Homes of the Rich” luxury real estate blog in 2012 and its kitchen — renovated by subsequent owner Julie Ferrara and designer Peter Salerno in 2016 — was named “Best Kitchen in America 2017” by HGTV, according to Randy. It also was the subject of a “Living Large” segment on CBS New York in 2017.
The home was sold to its latest owners, Jason and Fatima Ronchi, in April but is back on the market.
And if the next owners play their cards right and get the piano played by Stevie Wonder as part of the home purchase, there’s no need to worry if they don’t know how to play: The keyboard has a player-piano function.
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Patrick O’Shea may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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