You might think that a man possessed of 20 acres of oceanfront property in Palm Beach, upon which he plans to a build a modest home of at least 33,500 square feet, would not need permanent accommodation an hour and a half down I-95 in Miami. Indeed, Ken Griffin himself once thought this, putting his two brand-new Miami Beach condos on the market just as his master plan in Palm Beach began to come to fruition. Surely, he may have thought, a man with the means to buy the entirety of central Palm Beach can simply stay at Miami’s finest hotel should he find himself detained there late enough to make the 75-mile drive north untenable or otherwise undesirable.
Well, something in this calculus has changed.
A company tied to billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin paid $37 million for a double-lot on Miami Beach’s Star Island…. Star Island — home to celebrities including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, and most recently, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez — is experiencing some resident turnover. Lopez and Rodriguez last week spent $32.5 million for the mansion at 13 Star Island Drive, next to the property that Miller just sold.
Surely, you say, there’s a good explanation for this. For one, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to live next door to the next owners of the New York Mets, if for no other reason than to tweak Steve Cohen again? Plus, he never really gave up on Miami, since the sale of the two aforementioned penthouses did not actually go through. And, really, why not? Griffin owns ridiculously expensive homes in all sorts of cities where he doesn’t spend much time at all, and even owns a ridiculously expensive seaside getaway from the most ridiculously expensive of those.
Well, we here at DB quarantine HQ—a luxurious 1,000-square-foot second-floor apartment with a shared driveway somewhere in between Griffin’s midtown aerie and his Hamptons compound—have a theory of our own. Citadel is, as we say in these days of the plague, becoming ever-more decentralized, with new offices in Austin and now Singapore joining Citadel’s other 15 bases, which include two growing ones in China.
Now, Griffin’s got two homes in the vicinity of Citadel’s second city of New York (and which are convenient enough to its offices in Greenwich) and a rather spectacular new place just a tube ride away (ha ha ha) from its third-most important center, London. And, of course, Griffin’s got the most expensive residence (such as it is) in Citadel’s nominal hometown of Chicago.
But his growing real-estate portfolio in South Florida is entirely of the residential variety: Neither Citadel nor Citadel Securities list an office in the sunshine state. You can chalk up the Palm Beach condo to regular old billionaire stuff, but why the need for all the bedrooms in Miami? Is the Four Seasons Palm Beach simply too uneconomical a future headquarters, and anyway where will all of the Citadelers live after the entirety of Palm Beach is just Mar-a-Lago and the Griffin Estate anyway? Is Citadel planning to join Icahn Enterprises and Appaloosa Management in the home state of Griffin’s favorite U.S. Senator? (firstname.lastname@example.org is the e-mail address to use if you know the answer, by the way.)