Real Estate Mogul Jeff Sutton Makes Waves on the Jersey Shore - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Real Estate Mogul Jeff Sutton Makes Waves on the Jersey Shore

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Jeff Sutton is now making his presence felt on the Jersey Shore. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK OBSERVER)Having firmly established himself in Manhattan, Jeff Sutton is now making his presence felt on the New Jersey real estate scene.

The owner of Wharton Properties, a commercial real estate company with prized holdings in New York City, made headlines recently when he purchased a property on the Jersey Shore for $22.6 million. Sporting 5.3 acres and an impressive 350 feet of beachfront, his new estate – located at 91 Ocean Avenue in Deal – represents one of the most expensive acquisitions made in Monmouth County real estate history.

Bruce Germinsky of BG Realty Services in Long Branch brokered the sale on behalf of the Estate of Ruth C. Sampson, whose family constructed Mr. Sutton’s new home in the early 90s. In a telephone interview with the Jewish Voice, Mr. Germinsky described the property and some of its more prominent features.

“It’s an absolutely magnificent parcel,” he exclaimed. “The estate offers a beautiful beach and a terrific home. There are seven bedrooms presenting spectacular views, each one better than the next.” The location of the house, which sits atop a bluff a short distance from the shore, also has a defensive facet.

 “It provides great protection from the elements,” Mr. Germinsky noted. “When we paid a visit to the home following Hurricane Irene, we found it perfectly intact.” He suggested, however, that the home, more than three decades old, would likely undergo renovation. “It certainly has ways to go with design, and architects, engineers, and designers will probably be consulted. Moving into the home is a little further down the road.” Though the sale was closed in early December, reconstruction has yet to begin.

When asked about the details of the transaction, the experienced realtor discussed the marketing of the property and the public response. “We marketed the house nationally and even internationally for just about a year,” explained Mr. Germinsky. “There were two other seriously interested buyers. We ultimately selected Mr. Sutton after accounting for the price and the terms of the sale.” The property was originally listed at $35 million, but received fewer prospective buyers in straitened financial times.  “I think it probably would have brought more [buyers] had the market not been what it is,” Mr. Germinsky opined in an earlier interview with the Asbury Park Press.

The 12,000 square foot home has seven bedrooms and is situated on a 5.3 acre parcel of land. (PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID BEN-HOOREN)In an interesting turn of events, the deal wound up pitting two commercial real estate giants against one another. Mrs. Sampson, who recently passed away, was the daughter of David Cronheim, the eponymous founder of a real estate company considered by many to be one of New Jersey’s most prestigious commercial and industrial real estate brokerage firms. In such a pricey deal involving real estate heavyweights, one might have expected a long and protracted financial battle. Mr. Germinsky suggested that it was anything but.

“You know, I’ve done all different kinds of deals, most involving much smaller sums of money; some have been an absolute torture,” he explained. “This sale was nothing like that. The integrity and honesty of Jeff, Sarah, Libby, and Jimmy (the heirs of Mrs. Sampson’s estate) made negotiating this sale an absolute pleasure.”

The broker especially praised Mr. Sutton. “Jeff is an extremely competent businessman, but very fair. The truth is that when you deal with Jeff Sutton, you no longer have to wonder why he is so successful. This deal was a reflection of the way the man lives his life.” Though neither of the middlemen involved in the sale had previously dealt with Mr. Sutton, both complimented his demeanor and tact throughout the transactional process.

“Mr. Sutton is very classy in his style and approach,” affirmed Steven Scheer of G&G Realtors in Ocean Township. “He is very nice and kind, modest and genuine.” Mr. Scheer, who represented Mr. Sutton in the sale, recalled a particular episode that, in his opinion, reflected Jeff’s humble character. “We had to procure records of his previous property holdings, and, when contacted about the inquiry, he referenced us to his website. He could have boasted about his possessions in elaborate detail, but acted very modestly and professionally with that and throughout the entire process.”
According to Mr. Scheer, Jeff had expressed interest in the property for several years. “Mr. Sutton contacted me in around 2003,” he began. “Certain matters had to be sorted out following the passing of Mrs. Sampson, and it wasn’t until recently that the house was first being offered on the market.” When asked about what Mr. Sutton might have found so profoundly alluring—he already owns a house on Roosevelt Avenue in Deal – the realtor was unequivocal. “That amount of private acreage and beachfront is unreal. The estate is the largest in Deal, in terms of acreage, besides for the Deal Casino and the Deal Golf and Country Club, and such abundant beachfront cannot be found at any other homes along Ocean Avenue,” he continued.
Mr. Scheer, who has worked in real estate since 1979, also noted the exclusivity of the property. “What is so unique about the house is that it features a ‘surfer’s beach.’ What this means is that no lifeguard is required on the premises, and the only requisite is that children entering the water wear flotation devices.” With a lengthy driveway and a beachside home, this detail highlighted the intimate nature of the property. “It’s all very private,” Mr. Scheer added.

This description of the property accords well with accounts of Mr. Sutton’s personality. An article in the New York Observer that appeared this summer underscored his modest nature and reluctance to meddle with the media. “Mr. Dolce makes time for him, American Girls love him, Herald Square owes him—and you can bet Jeff Sutton has no comment,” read the subhead.

The article outlined Mr. Sutton’s career achievements as he emerged into preeminence through diligence and the deployment of clever business strategies. In particular, Mr. Sutton distinguished himself as he reversed the form of the traditional sale; he would secure a lease before procuring a property. The last twenty years have bore testament to his success, as the real estate titan has amassed 115 properties in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Mr. Sutton’s firm is particularly recognized for its powerful presence in Manhattan. Headquartered at 500 Fifth Avenue, Wharton Properties has aggressively conquered the surrounding area. Its properties, which are listed on the company website, include: the Giorgio Armani flagship store at 715 Fifth Avenue, the soon-to-be Dolce and Gabbana flagship store at 717 Fifth Avenue, the Abercrombie and Fitch store at 720 Fifth Avenue, the American Girl Place at 609 Fifth Avenue, and the American Eagle Outfitter’s world flagship store at 1551 Broadway.  According to Mr. Scheer and Mr. Germinsky, Jeff Sutton’s latest acquisition will likely remain a single-family residence.

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