Wall Street South Gets Biggest Win in Griffin’s Grand Miami Plan

Ken Griffin just set a new standard for Wall Street firms looking to make the move south.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Point72 Asset Management set up shop in a Related Cos. building in West Palm Beach. Dan Sundheim’s D1 Capital Partners leased space from Related Group in Miami’s trendy Coconut Grove neighborhood. Private equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc. took over a temporary office from law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP before locking down a long-term deal across the Miami River at 701 Brickell Ave.

Griffin, 53, the billionaire founder of Citadel, one-upped them all, pledging to build a pristine office tower in Miami with developer Sterling Bay that will serve as the global headquarters of his hedge fund and market maker.

While the process will take several years, creating a structure from the ground up along the waterfront in Miami’s business district is a new level of commitment from the titans of Wall Street, which have flocked to South Florida as employees gravitate toward its warm weather and lack of state income tax. Citadel’s ambitions could accelerate the plans of other banks, private equity firms and hedge funds looking to bolster their presence in the region.

Meanwhile, Griffin has already moved to Miami with his family, raising the prospect of him spreading his $28.9 billion fortune around Florida, where he was born and raised, as he has for years in Chicago.

“The ramification of this lease will be felt across the whole Miami market,” said Erik Rutter, co-founder of New York-based development firm Carpe Real Estate Partners. “You’re going to see similar caliber tenants” coming to the area.

The South Florida office market has been gaining momentum over the past two years, as scores of business leaders and employees relocated from places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Office leasing has surged across Miami and West Palm Beach, pushing up rents. That’s also driven heightened demand for housing and schools in the region.