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State

Billionaire Ken Griffin pays $58.75 million; deal is Chicago area's priciest home sale ever

Billionaire Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, has added to his already sizable real estate portfolio in Chicago, paying $58.75 million in November for the top four floors in the recently completed Near North condominium building at 9 W. Walton St., known as No. 9 Walton.

Public records show that Griffin paid $21.17 million for the building’s penthouse unit on the 38th floor, and he paid $12.95 million for the entire 37th floor. Griffin paid $12.13 million for the entire 36th floor and $12.5 million for the 7,100-square-foot 35th floor.

Whether one considers the sales all as one combined $58.75 million purchase or considers them as four individual sales whose highest-priced one is the $21 million-plus penthouse unit, Griffin now has captured the crown of paying the most money ever for a Chicago-area home. He dethroned another billionaire, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, who in 2014 paid $19.5 million in cash for a vintage, 15,800-square-foot mansion on 4 acres on Lake Michigan in Glencoe.

The founder of hedge fund Citadel, Griffin bought the units two months ago through his 9 West Walton Holdings company, a Delaware limited liability company that is headquartered at Citadel’s office address in Chicago. The seller of the four units was No. 9 Walton’s developer, JDL Development.

JDL President Jim Letchinger confirmed that Griffin is the buyer.

“He’s proud to live in Chicago, and proud to live in this building,” Letchinger said.

Letchinger declined to say the exact size of the combined units, but called the figure more than 25,000 square feet.

Letchinger said there are 70 units in No. 9 Walton, and all but two are under contract. No. 9 Walton residents will start moving in March 1, he noted. The deals of buyers who purchased raw space, like Griffin, have already closed. All other buyers remain under contract, with closings expected to take place as buyers take delivery of finished units in the coming weeks, Letchinger said.

One needs a scorecard to keep track of all of Griffin’s real estate around the U.S. He owns a full-floor unit on the 37th floor of the Waldorf Astoria, which he purchased in 2014 for $13.3 million, and he owns the top two floors in the Park Tower. He purchased the top-floor unit on the 67th floor in 2000 for $6.9 million, and he bought the 66th floor in 2012 for $15 million. He also paid $200 million in 2015 for three full floors of a luxury condo tower in midtown Manhattan. In addition, Griffin has owned properties elsewhere in the U.S., including in Aspen, Colo.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Hawaii.

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©2018 the Chicago Tribune

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