One of New Jersey’s most whimsical properties just came off the market — dragons, cannons, and dinosaurs not included.
The 54-acre estate, dubbed by some as New Jersey’s Neverland and listed for sale at $3.2 million, was purchased Thursday afternoon, one day before a highly anticipated auction.
The place is off Route 9 in Bass River, and motorists cannot miss its seven-foot-high, 1,000-foot-long front wall covered with an eccentric menagerie of massive statues and ornaments of fairy-tale creatures, zoo animals, and other figures.
The auction was set for 2 p.m. Friday, but a buyer signed a sale agreement for a price that was not disclosed.
The owner, Byung Taek Kim, 66, purchased the Burlington County property in 2010 to remodel it as a summer Shore retreat for his family. Kim, of Fort Lee, is the owner of a chain of Korean-style spas and water parks in North Jersey named King Spa and Super King Spa.
In an interview with the Inquirer and Daily News in May, Kim showcased a small plane in the home’s driveway. A gust of wind had blown it off the wall, he said.
When he acquired the property, Kim said, he began by creating a sculpture garden at the rear of the grounds, and then “moved to the front” and began decorating the wall “to make people happy.” According to a visitor, Kim buys the artifacts from defunct amusement parks.
Richard Maltz of Maltz Auctions would not disclose the name of the buyer or the amount the property sold for, but said interest in the house began mounting over the last 72 hours.
“It’s an interesting property indeed,” Maltz said. “Both the buyer and the seller are very pleased.”
The seller will be keeping the zany collection of creatures and figures, according to the auctioneer’s website.
Outside the residence, motorists often stop and gape. But what’s inside might leave one even more awestruck.
Beyond a pink 10,000-square-foot main residence sits a caretaker house, a large pool with a three-story watchtower and footbridge, a greenhouse, and two private ponds.