Singer Deniece Williams' Plastic-Wrapped Mansion Annoys Neighbors
The mansion wrapped in plastic is not part of a Christo art installation -- those are only temporary. The 20,000-square-foot house in Cherry Hill, N.J., that's owned by a four-time Grammy-winning singer reportedly has been under construction since 2008 with apparently no end in sight -- just the sight of it under a lot of clear plastic, from the chimney to its foundation. Cherry Hill residents are now complaining that the home (pictured above) has become an eyesore with a negative impact on the neighborhood.
"I can't imagine why someone would leave it like this," Realtor Anne Koons, who is selling a property down the street, told TV station KYW in Philadelphia. It's owned by singer Deniece Williams (pictured at right), perhaps best known for the disco hit "Let's Hear It for the Boy," who the Philadelphia Inquirer said halted construction on it in 2010. Property records reveal that Williams, also a noted gospel performer, and her then-husband acquired the property for $425,000 in 2002. At the time it held a 2,300-square-foot home built in 1954.
As seen in the TV station's video below, neighbor Klara Alperstein calls the home depressing, an eyesore, and speculates that mold is growing beneath its graying, fraying plastic. Another of those living nearby is Cherry Hill's mayor, Chuck Cahn. "As a neighbor, obviously, he wants to see it sold or completed and brought up to neighborhood standards," said Bridget Palmer, a township spokesperson speaking on his behalf.
The newspaper reported that when the township communicated with Williams in 2012, the singer said that she would finish the construction. Meanwhile, building permits for the home are still valid, it's been compliant with all laws, and payment on its property taxes are up-to-date, according to KYW. As a result, there reportedly is little that town officials can do.
While it's unexplained what brought construction to a stop in Williams' case, the timing falls in line with the Great Recession and the collapse of the housing market that halted so much homebuilding -- perhaps most notoriously billionaire David Siegel's "Versailles," which was designed to be America's largest private home.
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