“It’s just this is what he does and you have to look at it as a one-off.
“Hats off to the developer for that kind of sale.”
This month, Griffin paid about £95 million ($171 million) for a 200-year-old home overlooking London’s St James’s Park, 500 metres from Buckingham Palace. The 1860-square-metre home includes a gym, pool and underground extension.
Griffin, 50, started trading convertible bonds from his dorm room at Harvard University.
The Florida native founded Citadel in 1990 and has expanded it into a global empire managing hedge funds and making markets.
He’s amassed a $US9.6 billion fortune, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people. Along the way, he’s bought real estate in New York and Chicago worth more than $US500 million, not including the most recent purchases.
Acquisitions over the past few years included $US30 million for two floors of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Chicago and a Miami Beach penthouse for $US60 million.
In 2017, Griffin set the record for the most-expensive Chicago home, paying $US58.75 million for a four-level penthouse atop the Gold Coast’s No. 9 Walton apartment tower, according to Crain’s.
He’s also acquired about $US230 million of property in Palm Beach, Florida, according to thePalm Beach Daily News. In 2009, Griffin paid $US40 million for an apartment at 820 Fifth Ave, at 63rd Street, in New York, buying the 12th-floor unit from Lily Safra, widow of banker Edmond Safra.
Griffin also has a history of breaking records in the art world. In 2016, he bought works by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning from David Geffen’s foundation for about $US500 million.
He’s also an active philanthropist who’s given more than $US600 million to educational and cultural causes, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art and Harvard University.
Olshan compared luxury property deals like Griffin’s to the art market, where sky-high price tags don’t necessarily reflect broader demand.
“It’s not a proxy for the market,” Olshan said. “I just consider it a one-off, an anomaly, an extraordinary sale, much like you see in the art market when somebody goes out and spends an absurd amount of money – it doesn’t necessarily indicate that that’s where the art market is going.”
The luxury condo tower in New York he just closed on was built by Vornado Realty Trust, which said in October it was approaching 85 per cent sold, with 26 full-floor units in contract.
The Robert A.M. Stern-designed project faces the southern entrance to Central Park, with most of the 118 units offering unobstructed views.The Wall Street Journalearlier reported Griffin’s purchase.
Citadel has signed a lease to anchor a skyscraper at 425 Park Avenue, about 1 kilometre from Griffin’s new apartment, not including vertical travel. The office building, developed by L&L Holding and designed by Norman Foster, topped out last month. It’s supposed to be completed in 2020, and Citadel will take about 31,000 square metres on 16 floors including the penthouse.
The price for the 220 Central Park South property is well more than double the previous record for a residential sale in Manhattan, which was $US100.5 million for the penthouse at One57. That deal was completed in 2014.
Appetites for Manhattan’s ultra-luxury homes have since waned. A few blocks away from One57, a buyer purchased three apartments near the top of the 96-story tower at 432 Park Ave for a combined $US91.1 million, in a deal that closed in December 2017.
That was a 25 per cent discount from the combined sticker price of $US120.8 million.
A Vornado spokesman declined to comment, as did Corcoran Group’s Deborah Kern, who represented Vornado.
Tal Alexander, who along with his brother Oren represented Griffin, also didn’t comment.
By one metric, Griffin didn’t necessarily overpay for his New York apartment.
Based on its size, he probably paid about $US10,000 a square foot. A penthouse at 15 Central Park West sold for $US88 million, or $US13,000 a square foot, in 2012.