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Hedge Fund Tycoon Ken Griffin Fingered As Buyer of $200+ Million Big Apple Penthouse

YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Buckle your real estate safety belts, butter beans, because we’re about to embark on an honest-goodness real estate baller crazy train.

According the property gossips at the Post it is not, as has been widely rumored, an otherwise unnamed Qatari gajillionaire but American hedge fund fat cat Ken Griffin who has agreed to shell out more than $200 million for a group of contiguous penthouse units at the so-called ‘billionaires’ bunker” in New York City, an ultra-luxe, still-under-construction 950-foot tower going up at 220 Central Park South. So the story goes, Chicago-based Mister Griffin, embroiled in a contentious and media-tracked divorce with his wife of 11 years, former financier turned stay-at-home mom Ann Dias Griffin, plans to combine the units into a single penthouse but, according to the Post, the jumbo deal won’t be fully consummated until the building is completed in about another two years. As shocking as it sounds to mere financial mortals for one person to spend upwards of two hundred million to buy up several apartments that will likely require several tens of millions more to combine and customize, we can all be assured the 46-year old founder of hedge fund colossus Citadel can more than afford a quarter billion dollar bachelor pad pied-a-terre. Forbes estimates his net worth in the neighborhood of $7 billion and, according to court documents related to his divorce, Mister Griffin rakes in close to $100 million per month in pre-tax income. That translates to a faint-worthy net monthly take of more than $68.5 or about $2.2 million per day. No, puppies, that is not a typo; Mister Griffin’s bank accounts swell by about $2.2 million each and every day.

For the last year or so, the Griffins have been locked in a high-pitched battle over the validity of their pre-nup agreement, the division assets that include a handful of remarkably posh properties, and the specifics of child custody and support. Missus Griffin claims her soon-to-be ex-husband locked her out of several of the family’s homes and, according to court documents filed by Mister Griffin and parsed by the Post, his soon-to-be ex-wife claims gargantuan monthly expenses that include $2,000 for stationary, $6,800 for household groceries, $160,000 for vacation accommodations, and $300,000 for private jet travel. Looked at another way, Missus Griffin’s (alleged) monthly expenditure on private jets is about ten times the pre-tax amount some New York State fast workers will earn in an entire year of full-time employment if the industry’s minimum wage is raised to $15 hour as is called for in a controversial proposal currently being debated by the state’s political bigwigs. Pretty heady stuff but anyhoo…

As is typical and to be expected with the fortunate few who sit on a monstrous mountain of money fed by an evergreen stream of monumental monthly income, the Griffins maintain an extraordinary portfolio of private residences that would make an ordinary nine-figure multi-millionaire choke on his or her $169 foie gras-topped hot dog. The erstwhile couple’s primary residence has long been a mansion-sized duplex penthouse at the Park Tower, a mixed-use skyscraper along the Chicago’s chic and high-toned Miracle Mile. Mister Griffin bought a 67th floor penthouse in August 2000 for $6.9 million and in late 2012 he shelled out another $15 million for the 7,900-square-foot, full-floor unit directly below. The Griffins keep a notably posh pied-a-terre in New York City where they own a full-floor penthouse level spread at the über-elite, limestone-faced edifice at 820 Fifth Avenue that they snatched up in December 2009 for a princely $40 million from powerful social figure and banking widow Lily Safra. (Miz Safra, in case you didn’t know, only moved downstairs to an equally spacious Piet Boon-designed spread on the fourth floor that she acquired from home building honcho Ara Hovnanian for $33 million.)

As far as we can tell from a thorough but unscientific perusal of property records, the Griffins continue to own an 8,648-square-foot ski residence in Aspen, CO, that backs up the Maroon Creek Golf Course, purchased via corporate entity in July 2009 for $13,250,000. In 2009 the profligate pair paid $11.38 million for two vacant residential parcels that total about four ocean-view acres at the swanky Four Seasons Hualalai on the Kona Coast of Hawaii and two years later they shelled out another $16.95 million for a .6-acre oceanfront parcel in another part of the resort with a 5,600-square-foot Balinese-style residence. In early 2013 the Griffins were pegged by the in-the-know property gossips at the Wall Street Journal as the deep pocketed buyers who forked over a horse-chocking $130 million for a quartet of contiguous properties that total almost eight oceanfront acres just south of sassy-pants presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. And, finally, last July, perhaps because he needed a place to bed down in Chicago after he and his wife decided to part ways or maybe as high-priced investments, Mister Griffin was reported in the Chicago property gossip columns to have quietly coughed up $16 million for a 46th floor spread at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago and the very next month laid out another $13.3 million to buy a full-floor unit on the 37th floor.

By our quick and rudimentary mathematics the warring Griffins together and separately control more than a quarter billion dollars in private residential real estate, and that’s not counting the $200-plus million Mister Griffin is (allegedly) prepared to spend for the penthouse atop 220 Central Park South. Grab a snack and a stiff cocktail and think about that for a moment, buckeroos, because it’s truly mind bending.

Photo: Robert A.M. Stern Architects via The Real Deal

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