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Billionaire Ken Griffin Buys America’s Most Expensive Home for $238 Million

Katherine Clarke

The penthouse is in 220 Central Park South, an under-construction high-rise designed by Robert A.M Stern Architects.

The spending isn’t limited to real estate. In 2016, Mr. Griffin paid entertainment mogul David Geffen’s foundation $500 million for a pair of paintings by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning in one of the art world’s largest private art deals. In 2017, he donated $125 million to the University of Chicago to support its Department of Economics—one of the largest gifts in the university’s history.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Griffin confirmed the purchase. She said Citadel is expanding its presence in New York with its new office at 425 Park Avenue, and Mr. Griffin was looking for a place to stay when he’s in town.

Mr. Griffin is a well-known hedge-fund manager. The billionaire founder of Citadel began investing at 19 in his Harvard dorm room, graduated early and quickly earned a reputation as a gifted convertible-bond trader. He started Citadel in 1990 while still in his early 20s, making billions buying distressed assets from now failed hedge funds.

Mr. Griffin’s latest penthouse purchase breaks the previous record set in 2014, when hedge-fund manager Barry Rosenstein paid $137 million for a home in the Hamptons. Industry veterans believe Mr. Griffin’s deal may also be one of the priciest real-estate transactions ever closed in the world, nearing records set in markets such as Hong Kong and Monte Carlo. The priciest residential deal ever closed worldwide was the roughly $361 million sale of a home at the Peak, one of Hong Kong’s priciest neighborhoods, in 2017, according to Christie’s International Real Estate.

The Griffin unit is in 220 Central Park South, an under-construction supertall high-rise located between Seventh Avenue and Broadway. Designed by Robert A.M Stern Architects, it has already attracted a number of high-profile buyers including billionaire hedge-fund manager Daniel Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management and musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.

The apartment spans roughly 24,000 square feet, and is being delivered unfurnished as a white box, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Vornado Realty Trust, the company building the tower, was represented by Deborah Kern of the Corcoran Group, while Mr. Griffin was represented by Tal and Oren Alexander of the Alexander team at Douglas Elliman.

The project comprises an 18-story “chalet” fronting the street and a 79-story tower rising behind. The interiors were designed by Thierry W. Despont. The exterior is clad in Alabama Silver Shadow limestone, and amenities include private dining rooms, an athletic club, a juice bar, a library, a basketball court, a golf simulator and a children’s play area.

A spokesman for Vornado didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company is set to make roughly $1 billion in profits from sales at the project.

Mr. Griffin first signed a contract to buy the New York unit in 2015. Closings only recently commenced now that the building is nearing completion.

— Rob Copeland contributed to this story.