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 Forbes.com.
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.
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.
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.