Billionaire Ken Griffin wants to move historic home of statesman William Jennings Bryan


Billionaire Ken Griffin, 54, wants to relocate the historic home of former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan that sits on his $106.9 million estate, despite warnings it could damage the property.

The Chicago hedge fund tycoon made history buying the city’s most expensive listing to date when it was revealed in September that he’d purchased the four-acre property.

Villa Serena, the home of the three-time presidential candidate, who served in the House of Representatives from 1891 to 1895 and as the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson, is one of two homes located on the estate.

But Griffin has been ruffling feathers among historians and preservationists from the area after one of his first orders of business was to ask the city to remove the former statesman’s home.

Experts have argued that doing so will not only devalue the 1913 mansion, but also put it in danger of damage or collapse, the Miami Herald reported.

Billionaire Ken Griffin, 54, wants to relocate the historic home of former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan (left)  which sits on his $106.9 million estate, despite warnings it could damage the property

Villa Serena, is a two-bedroom, two bathroom guest villa once occupied by Bryan, which was built in 1913 and was on the National Register of Historic Places

Villa Serena, is a two-bedroom, two bathroom guest villa once occupied by Bryan, which was built in 1913 and was on the National Register of Historic Places

Citadel spokesman Zia Ahmed told the outlet that Griffin wants the property to one day be opened for public use for the first time in its history.

‘This is just an idea in the very early stages right now,’ Ahmed said.

‘Ken’s team is exploring potential options wherein the general public would for the first time be able to visit and see this historic home at a different location.’

Griffin moved his hedge fund Citadel to Miami after a colleague was robbed while having a gun pressed to his head during a coffee run.

He purchased the waterfront property in Coconut Grove from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, who is known in Miami for her $30 million contribution to the city’s performing arts center.

She also spent a significant amount of time renovating the home, which she used as a guest house and for social gatherings.

Griffin’s single property boasts old war charm and the grandeur and opulence of the Great Gatsby era. 

The billionaire businessman founded the massive hedge fund Citadel in Chicago in 1990, and, Citadel Securities in 2002. 

Bryan was a three-time presidential candidate, who served in the House of Representatives from 1891 to 1895 and as the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson - one of two homes located on the estate had belonged to him

Bryan was a three-time presidential candidate, who served in the House of Representatives from 1891 to 1895 and as the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson – one of two homes located on the estate had belonged to him

Griffin has been ruffling feathers among historians and preservationists from the area after one of his first orders of business was to ask the city to remove the former statesman's home

Griffin has been ruffling feathers among historians and preservationists from the area after one of his first orders of business was to ask the city to remove the former statesman’s home

It was designed by the late architect August Geiger, one of the most prominent American architects in South Florida from 1905 to the late 1940s

It was designed by the late architect August Geiger, one of the most prominent American architects in South Florida from 1905 to the late 1940s

Villa Serena, was a winter home of Bryan and was purchased by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht in 2007

Villa Serena, was a winter home of Bryan and was purchased by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht in 2007

Arsht spent four years renovating the property, keeping it in line with the traditional architectural elements

Arsht spent four years renovating the property, keeping it in line with the traditional architectural elements

The smaller mansion built in 1913 sits on the estate where Arsht also had her main house, which now belongs to Griffin

The smaller mansion built in 1913 sits on the estate where Arsht also had her main house, which now belongs to Griffin

Both homes boast luxurious lawns and brilliant water views and is located in Coconut Grove on Brickell Avenue – about two miles from Griffins future Miami office

Griffin, however, is originally from Central and South Florida, having been born in Daytona Beach, and raised in Boca Raton.

The move back to the Sunshine State comes only months after Griffin moved his global securities firm’s headquarters out of ‘crime-ridden’ Chicago. 

The company had been located in the Illinois area for the last three decades, but left due to escalating violence in the state.

Griffin acquired the mega 4-acre estate located in Coconut Grove on Brickell Avenue – about two miles from his future Miami office, the Real Deal reported.  

The historic property features two homes – a two-bedroom, two bathroom guest villa and a 14-000 square-foot primary residence with five bedrooms, five bathrooms. 

The historic property features two homes - the second a 14-000 square-foot primary residence with five bedrooms, five bathrooms

The historic property features two homes – the second a 14-000 square-foot primary residence with five bedrooms, five bathrooms

The main house has 20-foot-high ceilings, grand marble staircase, three living rooms, grand salon, dining room that seats 20, sun room and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay with architectural detail throughout

 The main house has 20-foot-high ceilings, grand marble staircase, three living rooms, grand salon, dining room that seats 20, sun room and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay with architectural detail throughout

Colorful lush foliage, numerous ponds with statues of swans and birds, gorgeous inground pools, and tennis courts adorn the property. The back of the luxurious home with its stucco façade and red-titled Mediterranean style roof

Colorful lush foliage, numerous ponds with statues of swans and birds, gorgeous inground pools, and tennis courts adorn the property. The back of the luxurious home with its stucco façade and red-titled Mediterranean style roof

The primary residence also has 20-foot-high ceilings, grand marble staircase, three living rooms, grand salon, dining room that seats 20, sun room and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay with architectural detail throughout.

The guest villa, once occupied by Bryan, was built in 1913 and was on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by the late architect August Geiger.

The former owner of the estate was renowned philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. In 1996, she purchased the land for $4 million and built her main residence three years later. 

In 2007, she purchased the second property for $12 million that she transformed into a guest villa, court records show, the outlet reported. 

Colorful lush foliage, numerous ponds with statues of swans and birds, gorgeous inground pools, and tennis courts adorn the property.

Proceeds from the sale were said to be donated to a charity that Arsht was passionate about, according to CBS Miami. In January, the property hit the market at $150 million, but sold at 29 percent below that.

Griffin  bought the record breaking $106.9 million waterfront estate. Griffin shared news of the company's Florida relocation in a letter to employees

Aerial view of the Citadel Center (completed in 2003), in The Loop, downtown Chicago. About 1,000 people work at its Chicago headquarters, and it is unclear how many will be making the move south

Chicago’s richest billionaire Ken Griffin was the mystery buyer of a record breaking $106.9 million waterfront estate. The CEO recently moved his company’s headquarters and family to Miami

Adrienne Arsht poses for a portrait at her home on Friday September 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to a charity that Arsht was passionate about

Adrienne Arsht poses for a portrait at her home on Friday September 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to a charity that Arsht was passionate about

Griffin shared news of the company’s Florida relocation in a letter to employees. 

About 1,000 people work at its Chicago headquarters, and it is unclear how many will be making the move south.

‘Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the America Dream. I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy,’ he said.     

Griffin noted that ‘many’ of its Chicago teams ‘have asked to relocate to Miami, New York and our other offices around the world,’ the letter read, NBC5 Chicago reported.  

Griffin added: ‘We recognize that the choice of where to call home involves personal, family, school and other considerations, and we will provide comprehensive support to meet the needs of our teams.’

The CEO has been vocal in the past about the Chicago’s escalating crime and violence. He said that some employees he knows have been mugged on their way to work and one even stabbed.

The company will be headquartered in Brickell, Miami’s financial district, and the move is expected to take several years. 

A grand marble staircase leads away from the three living rooms, grand salon, dining room up to the luxurious bedrooms

A grand marble staircase leads away from the three living rooms, grand salon, dining room up to the luxurious bedrooms 

The $106 million estate also has three living rooms, a grand salon, a dining room that seats 20, sun room and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay

Griffin’s purchase marks the first time a Miami property has crossed the $100 million threshold. The city’s prior sales record stood at $93 million for three adjacent homes purchased together by tech titan Phil Ragon earlier this summer

 Renowned philanthropist Adrienne Arsht was the former owner of the home. She purchased the guest villa for $12 million, court records show. In 1996 she purchased the land for $4 million where she built her main residence in 1999 

The interior of the home's bathroom features a beautiful green interior and spa bath

The interior of the home’s bathroom features a beautiful green interior and spa bath 

In the memo to employees, Griffin recalled the warm welcome he got in Chicago when he started his firm, The New York Times reported. 

‘I still remember the incredible civic pride and engagement when I arrived more than 30 years ago — and the outreach by business and political leaders who wanted us to succeed and be a part of the fabric of Chicago’s community,’ he wrote.

Citadel is just one of several major companies that have moved their headquarters out of the Chicago area.

Construction manufacturer, Caterpillar is relocating its Deerfield offices to the Dallas-Forth Worth area. 

Aircraft giant Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, and this May announced it was moving again, this time to Arlington, Virginia. 

Griffin is not the only billionaire businessman calling Florida their home. About 10,000 people moved to Palm Beach between 2020 and 2021, according to the U.S. Census, with more streaming in through 2022.

Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of New Yorkers have traded bleak winters for the Sunshine State, but some of the wealthiest among them are running into a significant supply issue – a lack of private schools that rival the elite education their children receive in the Big Apple. 

As a result, some real estate agents are losing out on big pay days as they see home buyers who haven’t secured a spot for their children delay the sale process. 

At the Oxbridge Academy in Palm Springs – where former first-son Barron Trump attends high school – spokesman Scott Siegfried told DailyMail.com that the school has a waitlist for most grades.

Enrollment numbers at Oxbridge have jumped from 510 to 562 in the last year alone, and a ‘strong applicant pool’ is expected for the coming cycle. Tuition at the academy is $35,000. 

Currently, the average price of a single-family Palm Beach home is $16 million.



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