Market Conditions: $58.75 Million for a Massive 4-Story Gold Coast Condo in No. 9 Walton

9 w walton under construction

9 w walton almost built 2017

Crain’s and the Chicago Tribune both reported that Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who the Tribune also calls the richest man in state of Illinois, has bought the top four floors of the new condo building No. 9 Walton which is at 9 W. Walton in the Gold Coast.

Total cost of all the units, which includes the top floor penthouse that will supposedly have a pool, totaled $58.75 million.

Crain’s said he took out a mortgage:

A few weeks after buying the units, Griffin took out a mortgage of $34.5 million, or about 59 percent of his purchase price, according to the recorder.

Here’s the breakdown of the units:

  • 38th floor penthouse: $21.7 million
  • Entire 37th floor: $12.95 million
  • Entire 36th floor: $12.13 million
  • Entire 35th floor: $12.5 million

This was sold as raw, unfinished space.

It has 12 to 18 foot ceilings and views of the entire city from four exposures.

Crain’s asked those in the industry how much it would cost to build it out.

Letchinger said the four floors combined have “greater than 25,000 feet” of living space, though he declined to give an exact figure. High-end finishing costs generally run about $1,000 per foot, Chezi Rafaeli, a Coldwell Banker agent who has sold several unfinished high-end condos including the top floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, told Crain’s after verifying with two of the city’s top designers. At $1,000 per foot, Griffin’s square footage could cost more than $25 million to finish.

According to the Tribune, Griffin already owns several other Chicago trophy properties:

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.

Is this sale a one off or a sign that Chicago’s downtown real estate is joining the league of the country’s elite cities?

And how happy are Chicago luxury developers that Ken Griffin continues to be loyal to Chicago?

JDL President Jim Letchinger confirmed that Griffin was the buyer to Crain’s.

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

Billionaire exec Ken Griffin pays $58.75 million in Chicago area’s priciest home sale ever [Chicago Tribune, by Bob Goldsborough, January 10, 2018]

This is the most expensive home sale ever [Crain’s Chicago Business, by Dennis Rodkin, January 10, 2018]

39 Responses to “Market Conditions: $58.75 Million for a Massive 4-Story Gold Coast Condo in No. 9 Walton”

  1. “Is this sale a one off or a sign that Chicago’s downtown real estate is joining the league of the country’s elite cities?”

    Its a sign that an extremely weathly person lives in Chicago

    I love how designers throw around $1k/sf. Even with FFE its a stretch.

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  2. But who is going to buy all these properties when he sells? There aren’t many other individuals in Chicago that could afford them.

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  3. I don’t think he really cares…

    This is nothing to him, 78 million is what, 1% of his worth? Thats like the eqivalent of normal people buying a mid level television

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  4. THATS JAN TERRI LIFESTYLE LEVEL!!!
    SWIMMING IN THE SH*T AND RUBBIN’ YER FACES IN IT LOLZ!!!
    GOOD BLESS!!!

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  5. For $58 million he gets to live across the street from an elementary school with a very noisy playground directly opposite his lobby entrance and traffic congestion twice a day.

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  6. maybe hes got his own helicopter pad on the roof

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  7. “78 million is what, 1% of his worth? Thats like the eqivalent of normal people buying a mid level television”

    For sure. It’s like the average CC poster spending about $2k–a couple of new iPhones.

    Or, put in reverse, it’s like a typical $1m home buyer having a net worth of $100m+.

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  8. This is not reflection of the market. It’s an outlier.

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  9. My guess, partial tax move suggested by his family office team to justify their salaries. Buy real estate, leverage it and reduce capital gains, dividend income therefore saving a couple million in taxes. Drop in the bucket for him but enough savings to support the investment and tax folks working for him.

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  10. Maybe he knows something we don’t? H2? I am starting to hear ridiculous claims that it is between Pittsburgh and DC at this point, still crossing my fingers for Chicago 😉

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  11. And $1,000/ft to finish. That’s laughable. Possible probably, but at that valuation you’re designing for a lunatic rich person where the value will decrease 75% the day it’s completed.

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  12. I think he’ll lose money on this. The economy is really humming along, but it seems to be getting overheated. Deals like this are yet another sign that we may be topping.

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  13. “Deals like this are yet another sign that we may be topping.”

    no they aren’t

    and this deal was done years ago… how’d we do last year?

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  14. Ridiculous. High-time 1%’er Griffin took a larger philanthropic role in Chicago governance, whether schools, unemployment, literacy, whatever, to improve quality of life of the “lower 50%”.

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  15. He also took out a $35M Mortgage. As an owner of a huge hedge fund / prop trading fund….. he definitely can outrun the 3% cost of capital.

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  16. “views of the entire city from four exposures.”

    I think the view to the east is not going to be great. He’s not going to see through the 900 N Michigan building (66 floors), from floors 35-38 at 9 W Walton. Same problem with the Hancock building. Even the Palmolive Building will block his view to the east.

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  17. There will be no view of the Palmolive Building from 9W Walton. It will be completely blocked by the Bloomingdale Building (900 N Michigan).

    I see that his view to the east will also be blocked by 1000 N Lake Shore (55 floors) and 980 N Michigan (58 floors)

    For a nicer east view, he would have been better to buy Vince Vaughn’s, 12,000-square-foot triplex penthouse on the 35th, 36th and 37th floors of the Palmolive Building. Too bad it’s been split up.

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  18. “and this deal was done years ago… how’d we do last year?”

    Sounds like from the reporting that he walked in there and bought it sometime last summer as that’s when the developer applied to get a new permit to add on another floor or two to the top and for the pool.

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  19. “I am starting to hear ridiculous claims that it is between Pittsburgh and DC at this point, still crossing my fingers for Chicago”

    The media was reporting today that it might be Boston because Amazon has entered into a lease for 500,000 square feet of space there and in the proposal it said that they would need 500,000 square feet of space initially by 2019. If you’re going to open it in 2019, you really can’t wait until summer of 2018 to get it built out and ready.

    I love Boston and people on the West Coast always love it. They talk longingly of living there. And Boston was apparently in the top 2, and the #1 pick of Amazon employees, when they were looking “secretly” last year but decided to see if they could get a better deal in a bidding war between everyone. But maybe they didn’t get it so they’re going to go with Boston anyway.

    It’s a great city for recruiting college grads in but I can’t imagine how badly it will mess up the housing situation there with 50,000 more highly paid employees.

    Maybe we’ll “win” Google HQ2 instead? They are looking to put 1,000 to 5,000 employees in a new city too. Mostly administrative jobs, apparently. Word has leaked from City Hall that Chicago is one of the top 5 cities for it. Others in the running, Dallas and Atlanta.

    Google already has 800 employees here. They’re mostly in sales with a few engineers.

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  20. “For $58 million he gets to live across the street from an elementary school with a very noisy playground directly opposite his lobby entrance and traffic congestion twice a day.”

    He has kids. Maybe they go there?

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  21. His kids are at Latin.

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  22. I can’t imagine a backwards ass town like Pittsburgh has a chance at the Amazon deal, people there don’t want to work and the city certainly doesn’t have the large amount of tech educated people necessary to fill the jobs they want to have there

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  23. “I can’t imagine a backwards ass town like Pittsburgh has a chance at the Amazon deal, people there don’t want to work and the city certainly doesn’t have the large amount of tech educated people necessary to fill the jobs they want to have there”

    Good to know how you feel, ponies. Isn’t the main issue whether amazon can recruit people to go work there, not whether there already are tech professionals there? and don’t forget carnegie mellon, which is up there in engineering.

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  24. “He has kids. Maybe they go there?”

    haha. Ken’s kids in CPS. At Ogden no less. It’s like a straight line for GF.

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  25. “Pittsburgh has a chance at the Amazon deal”

    They would basically get their own airport, already kitted out for hub status and international routes. Also a plus for Cincy.

    The 500k sf in Boston is space for ~2500 employees. Maybe they’re just consolidating their existing offices, and getting some room to grow.

    Honestly, from the perspective of site planning, that announced lease is almost a strike against BOS as HQ2.

    As to the “gotta have a lease in early ’18, if you’re moving in in ’19”–every city that is really in the game has enough *sublease* space available for a transitional office while the real office space gets completed. If Chicago were to win, AMZN could easily take on 500k sf around the loop on a short term basis until [PO, Lincoln Yards, whatever] was ready for phase 1 occupancy. Could they do that in (say) Nashville? Maybe, maybe not.

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  26. “haha. Ken’s kids in CPS. At Ogden no less. It’s like a straight line for GF.”
    “His kids are at Latin.”

    Feels like latin should not be special enough for them.

    would be awesome if he transferred his kids into ogden and then everyone started hanging out int eh penthouse for aftercare. that’s a sitcom right there. he’d prob never be home to know.

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  27. Never encountered them during our brief tenure at Latin (a fall semester of pre-k), but I saw him and one of kids a couple of times in the zoo (one time the kid was sporting a sweet astronaut costume; Ken had on jean shorts).

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  28. Daisy Dukes or Jorts?

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  29. Amazon could pull a Wrigley/Mars and try to force their people to move to Newark or Hackestown. It’s going to be fun to watch that sh*tshow play out.

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  30. re: amazon. Don’t underestimate Rahm’s pull and connections. especially to the film/media industry via his brother which is important to the bezos empire. Also don’t forget the need for diversity in the tech world. This alone is driving a lot of decision making. We have a level of diversity here that is lacking in many of the higher educated metro areas such as SF, Seattle, Denver, Boston, etc.

    and I once subbed on the citadel interoffice soccer team. played a game with Ken himself about 10 years ago. he didn’t play so well.

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  31. Re amazon S posted: “…The media was reporting today that it might be Boston because Amazon has entered into a lease for 500,000 square feet of space there and in the proposal it said that they would need 500,000 square feet of space initially by 2019….”

    From Chgo Trib: “Amazon is negotiating a potential lease for an entire 500,000-square-foot building, and an option for a second building of the same size, in the planned Seaport Square development, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.”

    I read Trib article as saying Amazon is negotiating in Boston not as stating Amazon has entered into a lease. The smart move for Amazon is to negotiate leases in multiple locations – RE broker’s efforts & atty fees are relatively low & imo news leaks will promote more aggressive reactions & concessions from other potential HQ2 locations. But we’ll learn what Amazon’s decided soon enough.

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  32. Rahm’s “pull”? More likely barely-tolerated disgraced former Clinton aide relying on his brother for what access he does get, despite all that trolling in DC during Obama’s 2nd term. Poor guy’s toast, stuck in title-only as mayor of Chicago, for pete’s sake.

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  33. ‘Seaport Square’

    See: http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/seaport-square

    It has been approved for 2.8m sf of office space, at a 7.6 gross FAR, so it doesn’t have space for another 7m sf of office.

    If the idea is that it’s bridge space for HQ2, it wouldn’t work, as ground hasn’t broken–that building won’t be available by Spring ’19.

    As I said, if it signposts anything, it is that Boston is *not* the likely winner.

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  34. Ken’s kids go to Lab.

    His view on the real estate market are very clear. Basically he said that real estate for people with his net worth is just a luxury lifestyle buy. It has nothing to do with investments, or view of the market. It is something he can afford so he buys (like a purse or something for most people).

    https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/08/04/delivering-alpha-unfiltered-ken-griffin.html

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  35. His kids went / go to Lab schools. I have a lot of colleagues whose kids went to school with his kids.

    From what I hear, he’s a pretty grounded and all around nice guy.

    This investment isn’t really much for him. Doesn’t he have like a 220 million dollar penthouse in nyc that’s under construction?

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  36. “This investment isn’t really much for him. Doesn’t he have like a 220 million dollar penthouse in nyc that’s under construction?”

    It actually is a mid-level triplex at the 66-story 220 Central Park South for about $200M. It will be one of the largest buildings in NY and overlook Central Park. But, yeah, still under construction and I guess you could say the Chicago investment “isn’t really much for him” considering his net worth but, hey, it’s still $50M+…..

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  37. “Amazon could pull a Wrigley/Mars and try to force their people to move to Newark or Hackestown.”

    Mars has always done whatever they wanted but this is a good job market so you don’t have to stay anymore. Lots of food companies out there. And if you’re in an area like marketing, which skills are transferable to lots of industries, you have more choices.

    In a job market with under 4% unemployment (and you’re living in a major city), there’s no reason to move to Newark.

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  38. Mars still has a large presence in Chicago. This was a minor shuffle of a few jobs. They just moved the food business from LA to Chicago.

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  39. ” I guess you could say the Chicago investment “isn’t really much for him””

    It’s the (rough) equivalent of someone with a $10m net worth buying a used 911 GTS. It’s not “could say”; it *is* not much for him.

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