Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY -

changed over the years with the ad­di­tion of new parcels, Grif­fin has de­cided to build a dif­fer­ent house from the one ap­proved by the town, spokesman Zia Ahmed said.

Grif­fin de­cided to stop con­struc­tion af­ter re­view­ing fi­nal bud­get pro­jec­tions for the house that came in sub­stan­tially higher than ini­tial es­ti­mates, ac­cord­ing to Cas­tro’s email.

No spe­cific dol­lar amounts of the con­struc­tion es­ti­mates were in­cluded in the email, and Ahmed wouldn’t com­ment about them. The house would have stretched longer than a football field, with only one story above ground. The es­tate has 871 feet of beach­front.

Grif­fin, who founded the Ci­tadel hedge fund firm, has so far paid a recorded $230 mil­lion for his ocean­front land.

“He’s step­ping back to re­assess his op­tions and see what he’s go­ing to do,” Cas­tro said Fri­day.

Con­struc­tion crews are ex­pected to va­cate the site af­ter fill­ing in a mas­sive hole that was dug for the house’s ser­vice base­ment and af­ter re­mov­ing any other “im­prove­ments” to the site, Cas­tro said in a phone in­ter­view. The town also will re­quire the prop­erty’s perime­ter wall on South Ocean Boule­vard to be fin­ished off and painted to meet vis­ual stan­dards, he said. The prop­erty also must be sod­ded with grass and ir­ri­gated.

“That is go­ing to take them time to start do­ing that,” Cas­tro said. “They’re in the process of stand­ing down.”

The recorded amount Grif­fin has paid for the land doesn’t in­clude his sole lake­front par­cel, the price of which was cloaked by the way the sale was struc­tured. It also doesn’t in­clude the money that would change hands for a house on 1.6 acres that he has un­der con­tract at 10 Blos­som Way.

San Fran­cisco-based ar­chi­tect Ugo Sap of Ate­lier Ugo Sap de­signed the house. Sap was trav­el­ing last week and couldn’t be reached, ac­cord­ing to his of­fice. Grif­fin wishes the ar­chi­tect well, Ahmed said.

Smith Ar­chi­tec­tural Group of Palm Beach was the ar­chi­tect of record, and its prin­ci­pal, ar­chi­tect Jef­fery Smith, de­clined to com­ment.

The con­trac­tor is Van Acker Con­struc­tion of Mill Val­ley, Calif. A Van Acker rep­re­sen­ta­tive de­clined to com­ment Fri­day.

Grif­fin has an es­ti­mated net worth of $9 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to

He has been as­sem­bling his land since late 2012. He now owns about 15.5 acres, not in­clud­ing 10 Blos­som Way. Clear­ing the bulk of the land be­gan late last sum­mer and in­cluded de­mol­ish­ing sev­eral houses Grif­fin owned on the prop­erty.

Some trees were up­rooted and re­planted along the north part of the es­tate, while oth­ers were sent to an off-site nurs­ery with plans to re­use them on the prop­erty, of­fi­cials have been told. Winds from Hur­ri­cane Irma knocked down or thinned other trees and veg­e­ta­tion. A num­ber of old-growth “spec­i­men” trees were kept in their orig­i­nal lo­ca­tions.

Crews had in­stalled “sheet pil­ings” to sta­bi­lize the earth to al­low them to be­gin to build the house’s base­ment, and those will be re­moved, Cas­tro said. Other pil­ings were driven into the ground as part of the base­ment pro­ject.

The town has strict re­quire­ments gov­ern­ing the time frame from when ground is bro­ken un­til con­struc­tion is com­pleted.

The dead­line to fin­ish con­struc­tion likely would have posed a prob­lem were the pro­ject merely put on hia­tus — in­stead of canceled — while a new house de­sign was for­mu­lated, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral sources fa­mil­iar with con­struc­tion projects in Palm Beach.

Shut­ting down the pro­ject would re­quire clos­ing out the build­ing per­mits that have been is­sued for the pro­ject. That means Grif­fin would have to start from scratch — in­clud­ing a new ap­pli­ca­tion to the Ar­chi­tec­tural Com­mis­sion — to build a dif­fer­ent house on the land. That process could take months to work its way through Town Hall.

The Ar­chi­tec­tural Com­mis­sion unan­i­mously ap­proved the ini­tial plans for the house when the board re­viewed it in Au­gust 2016.

Last year, Grif­fin re­vised the ar­chi­tec­tural plans af­ter spend­ing $85 mil­lion to add 4 ad­di­tional acres to his orig­i­nal land hold­ings by buy­ing the es­tate next door at 1290 S. Ocean Blvd.

The ma­jor­ity of Grif­fin’s land trans­ac­tions were han­dled by bro­ker Lawrence Moens of Lawrence A. Moens As­so­ci­ates. Moens couldn’t be reached.

Ren­der­ing cour­tesy Ate­lier Ugo Sap/Smith Ar­chi­tec­tural Group

Plans have been shelved for bil­lion­aire hedge fund founder Ken Grif­fin’s Bil­lion­aires Row house at 1265 S. Ocean Blvd. At 476 feet in length, the house was de­signed to stretch much longer than a foot­ball field.

Lan­nis Wa­ters / Daily News

Con­struc­tion crews are ex­pected to va­cate the site. The town will re­quire that the perime­ter wall on South Ocean Boule­vard to be fin­ished and painted.


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