Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Did Ken Griffin Spend $130 million in Palm Beach?

The real estate scuttlebutt on the palm tree-lined streets in more moneyed codes of south Florida is tha married Chicago-based hedge fund managers Ken Griffin and Anne Dias-Griffin may have coughed up a teeth chattering $130,000,000 for four contiguous properties in Palm Beach situated just south of Donald Trump's flamboyantly opulent Mar-a-Lago and the ├╝ber-elite—and high-WASP—Bath & Tennis Club. The four deal(s) went down quietly, simultaneously and off-market, according to the Palm Beach Daily News, and were recorded by the Palm Beach County Clerk in the last few days of December.*

The four properties—two of which were bought from the same seller—were purchased by a pair of Delaware-based limited liability companies. The children should note that only one the LLCs can be tangentially connected through an Miami Beach condominium linked to Mister Griffin's Citadel Investment Group in Chicago.

With a current net worth recently estimated by the folks at Forbes to be in excess of three billion bucks—that's down from a high of $3.7 billion in 2008 but way back up from the $2.3 billion it had fallen to in 2011—Mister Griffin and Missus Dias-Griffin can easily afford to shell out $130 million all at once for a quartet of luxury homes on one of Palm Beach's most desirable stretches of sand. But that does not mean they did. What that means, hunny bunnies, is that—for now—this fascinatin' potentiality that Mister Griffin and Missus Dias-Griffin might be the buyers of all four properties is little more than a juicy bit of high brow real estate rumor and gossip. Let's proceed unarmed with any confirmation of Mister Griffin's alleged possible purchase in Palm Beach anyways, shall we?

Two of the properties—one ocean front and the other landlocked to the adjoining west—were sold by trusts connected to a lady named Mary Bolton, a Palm Beach grande dame whose grandfather built one of the first ocean front properties in Palm Beach. Miz Bolton's pair of properties were bought by the same oddly named Black Calabash Family Holdings LLC . The landlocked parcel—1.65 acres with an award winning 4,376 square foot Old Florida-style residence designed by Miz Bolton's architect son and built in 1989 with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms—went for $14,300,000 according to the Palm Beach Daily News. The neighboring ocean front spread spans 1.98 ocean front acres with an approximately 10,000 square foot Mediterranean-style mansion built in 1989 with 5 bedrooms and six bathrooms. It went for $35,700,000.

The two adjoining ocean front properties stacked directly to the north of the two sold by Miz Bolton were sold in separate transactions by two different sellers. Both were purchased, again according to the Palm Beach Daily News, by PBH LLC., the mysterious above mentioned corporate entity that is somewhat circuitously "linked in public records to Citadel Investments Group" via a condo in Miami Beach.

The 2.21 acre northernmost parcel, with its 14,354 square foot mansion, was bought from businessman Walter McPhail and his wife Mary Anne and went for $37,950,000. Interestingly the most expensive of the four transactions was the $41,650,000 spent by PBH LLC to acquire a 2.04 acre currently vacant parcel between the Bolton and McPhail properties. The as yet unidentified  sellers did very well on the sale as they had only acquired the beach front property in May 2011 for $29,150,000 after which they knocked down the then-existing house down. That's an impressive $12,500,000 profit, less carrying costs, demolition expenses and real estate fees.

Altogether the four parcels total 7.88 acres and currently contain three substantial houses and three swimming pools. But again, Your Mama must street, children, that the various transactions and LLCs may or may not have anything to do with Mister Griffin.

Whether or not they're the actual buyers of all or any of the four Palm Beach parcels Mister and Missus Griffin none-the-less maintain an impressive portfolio of private residences in Chicago, New York City and the big island of Hawaii.

New York City property watchers may recall that it was Mister and Missus Griffin who, in December 2009, paid wildly wealthy banking widow and international society fixture Lily Safra $40,000,000 for her full-floor penthouse level spread at 820 Fifth Avenue. Those children may also recall that Miz Safra's team of movers didn't have to pack up and haul her precious collectibles very far since she'd paid house builder Ara Hovnanian and his artist wife Rachel Hovnanian $33,000,000 for their seriously sophisticated and almost all white Piet Boon-designed digs on the fourth floor.

In 2009 various property gossips in the business media revealed the hedge fund fat cats coughed up $11,380,000 for a four acre vacant parcel at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii and in early 2011 they coughed up almost $17,000,000 more for a 5,600 square foot Balinese style house that sits right on the ocean.

In August 2000 Chicago-based Mister Griffin spent $6,900,000 on a penthouse level apartment in a mixed-use skyscraper on Chicago's Miracle Mile. Just a few months ago it was revealed by the Chicago Tribune's real estate chronicler Bob Goldsborough that Mister and Missus Griffin bought the 7,900 square foot full floor unit directly below for a record breaking $15,000,000. Of course, Your Mama don't know an apple from a barbecue pit but we'd bet both our long-bodied bitches, Linda and Beverly, they plan to spend millions more combining their pair of Michigan Avenue aeries.

*Your Mama has zero reason to quibble with or dispute the accuracy of the details in the Palm Beach Daily News report but—for the record—as of today none of the several online databases Your Mama checked, including the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, reflect a transfer of ownership of any of the four properties.

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