Commerce Bank founder and CEO Vernon Hill has lost the battle to have the $21 million tax assessment on his Moorestown, NJ, home, Villa Colina, cut in half. Sounds like a huge property tax, right? But it's a huge property: 45,854 square feet, often cited as the largest private home in the state. Hill and his wife paid $2.1 million for the land. The New York Times covered the house's construction in 2001, calling it "a veritable Versailles," an "Italian Renaissance-style palace" and the region's "most extreme example of wealth and ostentation."
At the time, the Times reported that neighbors looked forward to the revenue the house would generate:
Although the size of the house has raised many eyebrows, most people here seem nonchalant, even happy about the Hills' plans to build a showcase to their success. After all, the property could have been developed with 40 new homes instead of one. And depending on how much Villa Collina is assessed for, it could generate more than $100,000 in annual property taxes.
It seems Hill didn't share their community idealism.
More recently, Complex featured Villa Colina in its list of 10 Ugliest McMansion in New Jersey, saying, "the gardens of this house are insane."
· Judge rejects Vernon Hill's lawsuit, says Moorestown house worth $34M [Inquirer]