Inside Wealth

This $40 million mansion has been empty for eight years—here's why

When the Stone Mansion in Alpine, New Jersey first came on the market in 2010, it was a sensation. The 30,000-square-foot palace was the most expensive listing in the Garden State, with a $68 million price tag.

Located on the famed former Frick Estate, the property had lush gardens, a 65-foot saltwater pool, tennis court, Jacuzzi, large pool house, and motor court for 11 cars.

The house had every amenity you could imagine — and some you couldn't. Like a subterranean basketball court that could be converted into a pool.

Basketball court
Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

When "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" toured the property in 2010 with its developer/owner, Richard Kurtz, he beamed with pride at the gold finishes, the modern technology hidden inside a classic-looking home and its proximity to Manhattan.

"There is nothing else like it," he told me. But the Stone Mansion just sat on the market. And sat. And sat.

Eight years later, it's still sitting. And the price has been cut by nearly $30 million, to $39.9 million. What happened?

Stone mansion in Alpine, N.J.
Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

Like many spec homes, the Stone Mansion was built for an exclusive buyer — perhaps too exclusive. As incredible as the house is, there just weren't buyers willing to pay more than $50 million for a home in Alpine with six acres of land.

The home is a massive 42-rooms, including a ballroom. It is festooned with Baccarat chandeliers, gilded moldings, and wood-paneled rooms — all which may not appeal to today's more simplicity-minded rich. And people with that kind of money for a home could easily afford a nice penthouse in Manhattan.

Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

There were offers and potential deals along the way, of course. But all of them fell through for various reasons.

To learn more about why some spec mansions often sit empty for years, and why more and more asking prices at the top seem like pure fantasy, "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" toured the home with its current broker, Noble Black. I asked Black what happened to create a price cut of more than 40 percent.

"They were trying to find the market," Black told me. "They went with what they thought was the right price at the time. We've come in and right-priced it."

I asked him how Kurtz feels about the home.

"I think it's frustrating for him because he knows how amazing the house is," Black said. "He literally poured his heart and soul into it. He wants to sell it but I think he also wants to sell it to someone who's going to love it."

Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

As it turns out, the Stone Mansion's price cut is not unusual in the super-luxe segment of the market. Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of Miller Samuel Appraisers, has looked at asking prices and sale prices for super-luxe homes across the country. He found that the accepted offers can be 50 percent below the most recent asking price.

The former Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, for instance, was listed for $200 million and sold for $105 million. A 13,000-square-foot home in Greenwich, Connecticut, which was first listed for $25 million sold recently for $9.65 million.

"That means the last asking price never had anything to do with market reality for the listing, period," Miller said.

The Stone Mansion will sell of course, but perhaps not at its current asking price, and certainly nowhere near the $68 million originally hoped for. But prospective buyers can now tell themselves they're not spending $39 million. They're saving $29 million.

A view of the grounds

Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

A grand entrance

Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

A chef-worthy kitchen

Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

 A living room made for mingling

Living room
Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

A spacious master bedroom

Master bedroom
Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

A well-stocked wine cellar

Wine cellar
Source: Noble Black / Douglas Elliman

Watch a new episode of CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," Wednesday, March 7 at 10 pm ET/PT.