BY Michael Light / On December 31, 2022

“We’re not sort of in — we’re all in,” Citadel’s Ken Griffin told Bloomberg this fall after putting in motion the relocation of his Citadel Securities empire to Miami, adding fuel to the already thriving commercial and residential real estate sectors alike. And all in he was, leading and to name him Miami’s Person of the Year 2022.

Even before the June 2022 announcement that he would be uprooting his firm, Griffin had been hard at work assembling land in both Miami and Palm Beach. Although a mammoth task to relocate an entire firm, the move does make sense for Citadel. Chicago has grown dangerous and overvalued, the weather is nowhere close to as temperate as what we find in Florida, Chicago is no longer the financial powerhouse haven it once was. Taxes are lower in Florida, and we cannot discredit the fact that Griffin himself hails from the Sunshine State.

He even said it himself, stating, “When you’ve got great schools, a great environment and your streets are safe and clean, that’s when you’ve got a place you want to live in and call home,” Griffin said.

Once the announcement was made, he worked tirelessly to purchase homes and assemble land for future office towers, all trophy properties of course. Here is a breakdown of what he purchased:

Adrienne Arscht’s Waterfront Home – $107 Million

The most recent trophy purchase was that of famed philanthropist Adrienne Arscht’s waterfront mansions. Yes, that is mansions in the plural sense. The two homes are nestled on a lush bayfront lot in Coconut Grove. One is of newer construction, the other is a historical treasure that was built in 1910.

After the closing, it was released that Mr. Griffin would reside in the newer home, but is seeking to MOVE the historical mansion to another location. Who moves a 112-year-old mansion? Ken Griffin.

His reasoning is that he feels the public would love to be able to tour the home, at a different location, which makes sense. The guilded-era home is spectacular and Mr. Griffin prides himself on his philanthropic efforts.

The purchase of either of these homes would have certainly been newsworthy, but the two together is record-breaking.

Gables Estates Spec Mansion – $45 Million

It is unclear why Citadel’s chief would need three mansions in such close proximity, but there must be a master plan in effect because he bought a 19,000 square foot home in the gated and waterfront Gables Estates. The eight-bedroom home sits on a 2-acre waterfront lot and boasts a 5,000 bottle wine cellar, theater, pool, outdoor kitchen and a sauna.

Brickell Development Site – $363 Million + $286.5 Million

While the residential purchases were all newsworthy, nobody had yet fathomed the amounts that the hedge fund billionaire put toward office space in the Brickell Financial District! He has seen the gleam of opportunity and purchased a 2-acre development site at 1201 Brickell Bay Drive for $363 million as well as the existing office tower at 1221 Brickell Avenue for $286.5 million.

This transaction is interesting because it leads to the question of what is to be built on the development site? Another property transacted around the same time and on the same block. It was a small 3-story walkup on Brickell Bay Drive that was built in the 1950’s and now purchased for $20 million. It was not disclosed who the buyer of the apartment complex was, but with Citadel making major purchases on either side of this complex and continuing its spending spree, one can only imagine who the mystery buyer was.

Ken Griffin has expressed his plans to construct an iconic 1000-foot trophy office tower on the water, could it be that he plans a mega-project? Perhaps we will find out in 2023…

Other Office Transactions

In addition to the potential mega-development, Citadel also finalized a lease for office space in 830 Brickell, which is under construction just a few blocks away.

This seems like an insurmountable quantity of space for one company, but it is part of a larger plan. While Citadel will base its headquarters here, Mr. Griffin is also preparing to pitch the magic city opportunity to other large scale employers including Apple and others that will bring additional human capital into our realm.

Miami is also not the only city in South Florida where Mr. Griffin is hard at work. He has also purchased a gorgeous home and office space in Palm Beach. All Citadel employees who live in Palm Beach will be able to work from the Worth Avenue office. The $350 million he has spent assembling land in Palm Beach also includes a home on Blossom Way for Griffin’s mother.

Ancillary Transactions

In order for Griffin’s Miami dream to come true, there will need to be bodies in all of this office space he is putting together. This creates added demand on our already thriving residential market, particularly in the luxury sector. While we do not have the numbers of this subsidary contribution, the evidence is clear. While the rest of the nation is preparing for a crippling real estate crash due to interest rate increases and inflation, Miami is sitting pretty, ready for a continued renaissance.

Thank you to Ken Griffin and Citadel for all of your contributions to the Magic City and have a healthy and prosperous 2023!


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