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Three applicants for jobs at the new Playboy Club in Great Gorge, N.J., chat with a real Playboy Bunny, Oct. 14, 1971. (AP Photo)
Three applicants for jobs at the new Playboy Club in Great Gorge, N.J., chat with a real Playboy Bunny, Oct. 14, 1971. (AP Photo)
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A long-abandoned, decaying former Playboy Club that had become an eyesore in the New Jersey town of Vernon has at long last been sold, the local mayor announced.

“Breaking news!!!!” Vernon Mayor Anthony Rossi wrote on Facebook. “I am happy to announce that ! On Monday, I met with the new owner in my office to discuss his plans. He has requested that we jointly work on a press release together outlining his plans, which will be released in the next few weeks.”

That was two weeks ago, and now the real estate world is waiting with bated breath, according to NJ.com, which noted that it’s unclear whether a final version of the deal went through.

Situated about 50 miles northwest of New York City, the club was once a renowned playground for the rich and famous. The sprawling 600-room, eight-story building was a jewel in the Garden State’s virtual crown when Hugh Hefner built the storied complex, which opened to much fanfare in 1972. Even he had a suite there, and the hotspot drew the likes of Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon and Tony Bennett as performers.

Other luminaries included Nancy Sinatra, Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, Johnny Cash, Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Dionne Warwick and The Supremes, NorthJersey.com noted in a 2017 column.

Playboy left the property in the early 1980s, after which it changed hands a few times until it landed with Metairie Corp., its present owner, and became known as the Legends Resort & Country Club. It would later close down, and for a time afterward it housed low-income residents.

However, even that wound down when in 2017 Vernon Township started evicting them over health and safety concerns amid what then-Mayor Harry Shortway told CBS News were.

According to NorthJersey.com, the resulting in the arrests of two brothers from nearby Port Jervis, N.Y.

In 2020, a deal almost went through to redevelop the mansion, which was by then boarded up, but the Township Council in consequences for Metairie, which owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdue taxes and other fees, the New Jersey Herald reported at the time.

Rossi, a Republican who took office in January after winning in November, said in his social media statement that he had made resurrecting the property a focus of his early weeks in office. After going back and forth with Metairie President Hillie Meyers, Rossi suddenly announced the sale.

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