Realtors like to tout their priciest listings as being "perfect for a casino executive." But what's a typical casino executive really looking for in a house? For Lee Ploszaj, it was 5,000 square feet of luxury living space in Irongate, a community of million dollar homes in Galloway Township. Ploszaj, a longtime Las Vegas casino and hotel developer, moved to South Jersey in 2007. At the time he was the head of East Coast operations for Perini Building Company, which was developing the ill-fated MGM Grand casino hotel in Atlantic City.
"The MGM was a $3.5 billion project so at that time I really needed to live near Atlantic City," he recalls.
Ploszaj chose Irongate to build a house for his wife and two children. The gated community off Leeds Point Road is about a 15-minute drive from Atlantic City and a stone's throw from the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge, the Noyes Museum of Art and the Historic Towne of Smithville.
Ploszaj's house was the first of three to be erected by high-end custom builder Andrew Klose in the eight-lot subdivision. It stands well back from the street beyond a large man-made pond stocked with coy and equipped with a working fountain. The property is entered via a bridge at one end of the pond that leads to the two-story stone and stucco house and three-car side-entry garage.
"The design is called English Manor," Ploszaj says. "The bridge across the pond and the arrival at the house is very British."
The design may be British but the materials are multi-national. Ploszaj says the three-inch-thick stone that comprises the rear and side patio floors was imported from Rumania. The living and dining room floors are made of Brazilian cherry and the Italian tile bathroom floor was installed by artisans from Poland. The high-end Miele dishwasher was made in Germany. The USA is also represented: the Wolf oven and six burner gas range as well as the Kohler fixtures were made in America.
"Being in the development business I really appreciate craftsmanship," says Ploszaj, who currently serves as President and CEO of Winners Development, an Arizona based real estate development company. He's particularly proud of the immense granite topped island in the kitchen.
"It's very clean and a spectacular piece, with great grain and color and actual gold speckles" he says. "It's one solid slab of granite. It took 10 guys to carry it into the house."
The elegant interior features arched doorways flanked by square columns, a tiled, two-story foyer with a curved staircase and a formal dining room with a coffered ceiling. Large custom windows let in lots of natural light sunlight.
Glass doors in the formal living room open to a small side patio. The family room has a cathedral ceiling, a gas fireplace with a custom surround and doors to a rear patio that overlooks a forested back yard.
The eat-in kitchen has custom cabinets, tile backsplashes, a wine cooler and a Sub-Zero refrigerator built in to the cabinetry. The first floor also includes an office that could be a fifth bedroom and a large laundry room. A spiral staircase leads from the foyer down to an enormous unfinished basement that encompasses the entire footprint of the house.
"We were going to put in a wine cellar, a smoking room and a theater," Ploszaj says.
Upstairs are four bedrooms and three full baths. Two bedrooms, one with a walk-in closet, share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. Another bedroom has a private bath. The master bedroom features a raised tray ceiling and a huge dressing area off which are two walk-in closets, a storage closet and a shoe closet. An unusual master bathroom is actually two rooms separated by an oversized walk-in shower that can be entered from two sides.
"That was my wife's idea," Ploszaj says. "She always wanted her own bathroom with her own bidet and freestanding tub and bath space."
With the MGM Grand project scuttled, Ploszaj has decided to sell the house in Galloway.
"We have a home in Arizona and we've been navigating back and forth," he says. "But a lot of my ventures are on the West Coast so it probably makes more sense to be in Arizona."
An open house at this property will be held Sunday, Nov. 18, from noon to 2 p.m. For more information call Robert Shamberg of Prudential Diversified Realty, 609-652-6690 or direct at 609-335-5711.
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