On the Market: Penn professor's waterfront JS home for $4.95M

William Laufer at his Longport, New Jersey home on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (Stephanie Aaronson/Philly.com)

At first glance, Bill Laufer’s Jersey Shore home may just seem like an upscale beach house. But once visitors enter, they’ll find Philadelphia flavor sprinkled throughout the property.

That was Laufer’s priority when he moved to his waterfront Longport home in 2007 after spending 20 years in his Rittenhouse row home. Although ready for a change from city living, Laufer didn’t want to leave Philadelphia completely, so he decided to bring some details from his Center City home with him.

“I was tired of that kind of life, I wanted to see the water,” said Laufer, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “I enjoy architecture and design and really wanted to capture some of the elements from the Philadelphia row house for the shore house.”

The location was what drew Laufer to the property – situated in a marina community with property down to the bay – but he wasn’t satisfied with the design of the home. So he decided to knock down the house that was there and build from scratch; a process that took a year-and-a-half.

"The inspiration for the home came from a desire for dramatic views of the water and as much sun light as possible," Laufer said. "Large windows and balconies define the property and address this desire. The old structure was confining and dark."

Once completed, the 22 Seaview Drive property was a brand new five-bedroom and five-bathroom home, with around 7,500 square feet of living space situated on 1.4 acres on the bay.

Some of the details Laufer brought from his Philadelphia home can be found on the stairs and in the kitchen and bathrooms. Laufer said he did his best to duplicate the master bedroom – except this one provides waterfront views.

"I migrated some of the aluminum, steel, and oak features from the Center City apartment to 22 Seaview, including vented aluminum staircases and stainless steel cable railings systems," he said. "Bathroom fixtures and lighting came as well."

After living in a row home for so long, Laufer said he wanted to use the natural light to his advantage. When a visitor enters the property, the first thing they see is the bay and the in-ground pool through the large windows in the living room that extend up to the second floor. The 50-foot edgeless pool he added in also has a connected hot tub and large patio area with lounge chairs.

Laufer said he put in a couple hundred thousand dollars for the landscaping.

“There was no vegetation when I moved in," he said. “I created a topography and put in a couple of nurseries.”

Laufer said the property was flat, but he built the home so it was elevated higher and put in a $140,000 gabion wall at the bottom of the property by the bay to prevent water damage.

And several years later when Hurricane Sandy hit, Laufer saw the wall come in handy. The home had a mere $50 worth of damage to a small water spout. However, he said, other homes nearby were not as fortunate and had worse damage.

The home also comes with a private beach and a pier that extends 284 feet, an indoor dual resistance lap pool, an elevator, wine room, and media room. Plus, it features smart home technology, with touch-screen panels in every room to control the music.

Laufer says the move from the city to the shore, which is less than five miles from Ocean City and less than 10 from Atlantic City, was “exciting and so wonderful to wake up with this kind of sunlight.” But being the only one in the home with his two dogs – his daughter graduated college and his spouse lives in New York City – he says it’s time to sell the property. He’s put the home on the market for $4.95 million.

Laufer says he hopes to live in another waterfront property after this one.

“It’s a great and amazing home for a large family – to either live year-round or for a vacation home.”

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