EXCLUSIVE: Chicago billionaire expands massive Palm Beach estate to more than 15 acres

March 02, 2018
Chicago hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin has added a 2-acre lakefront property to his 15-acre oceanfront Palm Bach estate by acquiring 1285 S. Ocean Blvd. That gray-roofed house can be seen in the foreground at the far left of this photo taken before crews cleared his beachfront land of several houses directly across the street. Photo by Brian Lee, courtesy of WoollyMammothPhoto.com

The already-sizable Billionaires Row oceanfront estate of Chicago hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin just keeps growing.

Public records confirm Griffin has acquired his first lakefront property, at 1285 S. Ocean Blvd., about a quarter-mile south of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago and immediately across the street from his beachfront land.

The property adds about 2 acres to the 13.5 acres Griffin already owns east of South Ocean Boulevard, where he has another 1.6-acre track there under contract at 10 Blossom Way, as the Daily News reported exclusively in January. When the Blossom Way sale closes, Griffin will own a staggering 17 acres of prime real estate. That makes his estate by far the largest in Palm Beach.

The price paid by Griffin’s ownership company remains cloaked, thanks to the way the transaction was structured.

With a 10,833-square-foot house, the newest property follows the curve of the Intracoastal Waterway and has about 193 feet of waterfront, according to property records.

Ken Griffin has acquired a lakefront house at 1285 S. Ocean Blvd., directly across from his oceanfront estate, public records show. Photo: Daily News Real Estate Writer

RELATED: Pending sale will expand Griffin’s sizable Palm Beach estate

The property has a “total market value” of $16.76 million in the latest tax rolls. But that value was assigned as of Jan. 1, 2017, and property values across town have likely risen since then, according to Palm Beach real estate observers. Several sources said the property likely was worth at least $20 million.

The transaction was recorded as an “ownership change” last week by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s office. The property was not listed for sale in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

A spokesman for Griffin had no comment Thursday.

The seller was evidently Anna Murdoch-Mann, who was the second wife of Rupert Murdoch, executive CEO and founder of News Corp. and creator of FOX Broadcasting. The couple divorced in 1999, and she married the late financier and businessman William Houston Mann the same year. Mann died in August at 91. His widow, a Scottish journalist and novelist, had paid a recorded $11.42 million for the South Ocean Boulevard property in May 2003, records show. The couple divided their time between Palm Beach and Southampton, N.Y.

Broker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens Associates has represented Griffin in all of his other transactions on Billionaires Row. Griffin, who heads the Citadel hedge fund firm, began assembling properties there in late 2012 and has so far paid a recorded $230 million for his land. Moens, who also handled the seller’s side for almost all of the deals, could not be reached Thursday.

Griffin’s oceanfront land has been cleared of buildings to make way for his house, which is under construction and will stretch longer than a football field. The estate has 871 feet of oceanfront.

RELATED: See photos of Ken Griffin’s planned house

The lakefront house he just bought was built in 1983 by Michael Burrows, the developer of the Blossom Estate subdivision. According to a sales listing from 2003 that touted its “spectacular views,” the four-bedroom house has a walk-in wine cellar and a covered patio among its amenities.

Via a transaction recorded Jan. 29, Murdoch-Mann deeded her home to a Delaware-registered limited liability company named Havudsigt LLC. Because it was as an internal transfer rather than a so-called “arm’s-length” sale, the amount of the transaction was not recorded by the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

Last week, the property appraiser received notice that a company associated with Griffin had taken ownership of the property through another limited liability company, Lungomare LLC. Delaware business records show a company by that name was registered in November. Because of Delaware’s strict privacy laws, no other information about the company was immediately available in public records. No deed was recorded for the deal, according to a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office.

The names of both LLCs involved, however, are associated with water in other languages. “Havudsigt” can be translated from the Danish to mean waterfront or sea view while “lungomare” means “waterfront” in Italian.

Murdoch-Mann had the property homesteaded in the latest tax rolls, courthouse records show. Homestead exemptions transfer with the sale of property for the remainder of the calendar year in which the transaction is recorded.

In all, Griffin has acquired seven properties in the immediate area, not including the one under contract at 10 Blossom Way. He has knocked down four houses — including one on 4 acres he bought in January 2017 for $85 million next door to his initial purchases.

RELATED: Griffin pays $85 million for neighboring estate

Forbes estimates Griffin’s net worth at $9.1 billion.

Sotheby’s International Realty handled both sides of the 2003 sale, in which agent Liz Schuler represented Murdoch-Mann opposite agent Cristina Condon. Schuler said Thursday that she wasn’t involved in the recent sale, and Condon couldn’t be reached.

Murdoch-Mann’s late husband was president of Manca Inc and of Leitz Inc., which imported cameras and industrial scientific instruments. Leitz eventually became the Leica camera company. He also was the founding member and served as chairman of the board for 30 years of St. Luke Institute, a Catholic healing ministry for the clergy.

RELATED: Palm Beach OKs Griffin’s longer-than-a-football-field house

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