Max_weinberg_sevenMax Weinberg, at right, on the set of ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien.’

The real estate market may be plummeting, but Max Weinberg, drummer for Bruce Springsteen and Conan O’Brien, is hoping for some magic as he plans to sell a subdivision he created in Middletown five years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported in its Weekend Edition last Friday.

In a feature story about Weinberg’s affinity for digging through property records at town hall and looking for just the right countertops while on tour in London, the Journal reports that he

plans to put the 22-acre subdivision on the market this spring, asking $8 million for the three lots. (He says he hopes to sell them together but will entertain offers for them individually as well.) If Mr. Weinberg gets his price, he’ll make a handsome profit — he paid less than $1 million for the full, 40-acre property in 1997. “I wanted my children to be able to take advantage of my planning,” he says.

Weinberg had his preservationist bona fides called into question at the time by none other than neighbor and Monmouth Conservation Foundation President Judith Stanley Coleman when he carved three 6.5-acre lots out of his then-36-acre estate on McClees Road in 2003. Weinberg was a trustee on the foundation board, and he made the move just ahead of an ordinance that would have boosted the minimum-lot size on his property to 10 acres.

The Journal says Weinberg’s subdivision, (apparently called Spy Hill, going by to a sign in a photo with the story), has stirred up controversy.

A Newark Star-Ledger columnist called Mr. Weinberg a “symbol of hypocrisy” and said his professed environmentalism was “a way of feeling good without actually doing good.”

Trudging across the property one chilly day recently, Mr. Weinberg brushes off the allegations that he’s a hypocrite. The conservation foundation, he says, has never been against development, just against thoughtless development. His project, he says, is “very conservative”— just three lots, with the maximum number of trees preserved.

Not everyone was convinced. Neighbors criticized the plan for threatening one of the largest undeveloped spaces remaining in the area. Local planning authorities expressed similar concerns — but said they had little choice but to approve it since Mr. Weinberg had done his research, and the subdivision plan was done by the book.

“I really feel this is not best for the area,” the Middletown Township Planning Board’s chairwoman, Judith Stanley Coleman, said at the time of the vote, according to the Asbury Park Press, a local newspaper. “But we have laws in front of us that we have to take into consideration, and that is what we have to abide by.”

The Journal also reports that while ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ plans to relocate from New York to Los Angeles next year, Weinberg doesn’t plan to sell his 8,900-square-foot, seven-bedroom home here. But he and his wife, Becky, are hoping to build a new house in L.A.

Email this story