By Nathan Reiff–investopedia
Palm Beach, Florida is likely to evoke images of beautiful ocean views and warm, sandy beaches. But the south Florida town of about 10,000 year-round citizens also contains a startlingly large percentage of the nation’s billionaires. According to a Forbes list of the wealthiest individuals in the United States released earlier in 2016, Palm Beach is home to more than 25 billionaires. Considering that there were only 540 billionaires in total in the United States at the time the Forbes list was released, the small town of Palm Beach seems to have an unusually strong pull on the country’s ultra-wealthy. Among the list of billionaires living in Palm Beach, several are primarily known for their involvement in the financial industry. In order to be counted as having an affiliation with Palm Beach, these individuals needed to own property on the island or to live there for all or part of the year.
Most recently dominating news headlines as the Republican presidential candidate, real estate titan Donald Trump owns property in Palm Beach including the famous Mar-a-Lago. The estate, which dates from the mid-1920s and was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post, has been converted into a ritzy private club catering to an international and wealthy clientele.
Thomas Peterffy, the digital trading pioneer and leader of Interactive Brokers Group, Inc (IBKR), purchased a USD$22.7 million lakefront property in Palm Beach in 2011. Though Peterffy remains a resident of Connecticut for much of the year, he has a beautiful Palm Beach property with a protected bird sanctuary for when a change of scenery is required.
Chairman and CEO of Blackstone Group (BX) Stephen Schwarzman maintains an impressive estate, valued at nearly USD$50 million, in Palm Beach. Blackstone, a global private equity giant, owns a substantial amount of property in the Palm Beach area as well.
Hedge fund manager and founder of Citadel Ken Griffin purchased four adjacent properties in Palm Beach in 2012 for about USD$130 million. In 2015 he purchased a fifth estate in the area for another USD$15.2 million. Fortunately, with a net worth of over USD$7 billion, Griffin has sufficient funds to continue buying properties on the island if he wishes to. In April of 2016 Griffin was in arrangements with the Palm Beach town council to begin developing a multi-lot single-family home across the properties, all of which are situated in the area known as “Billionaires’ Row.”
Henry Kravis, the billionaire co-founder of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. purchased a waterfront property in Palm Beach in 2012 for just over USD$9 million. Kravis’ late father, Raymond Kravis, was a philanthropist and oil industry leader whose name decorates the performing arts center in adjacent West Palm Beach.