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As Wall Street Migrates to Florida, Hedge-Funders Move to Offload Manhattan Homes

Wealthy financiers are trying to sell their properties as the city’s luxury market begins to recover from the Covid crisis.

2/22/2021 10:25:00 PM

The pandemic accelerated the pace of Wall Street firms defecting to South Florida. Now hedge-funders are trying to sell their high-end homes.

Wealthy financiers are trying to sell their properties as the city’s luxury market begins to recover from the Covid crisis.

Feb. 22, 2021 2:01 pm ETThree Manhattan listings—a downtown penthouse asking $39.5 million, a sprawling co-op seeking $40 million and a pair of Upper West Side condos on the market for $25 million—share one thing in common. Their sellers are among the top brass at Elliott Management, a hedge fund that announced last year it is moving its headquarters from New York City to Florida.

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Real-estate veterans and hedge-fund executives believe a seismic shift is under way, one that is moving vast amounts of Wall Street wealth from New York to South Florida. For the past several years, Wall Street has beencolonizing the Sunshine State, attracted to more favorable tax policies and sunnier climes. And the momentum is only accelerating amid the pandemic.

David S. Goodboy, founder of the Palm Beach Hedge Fund Association, a networking organization for finance professionals in South Florida, said he saw his base of paying members almost triple in the past year. When he scheduled an in-person networking event in January at the West Palm Beach home of one of the organization’s wealthy members in January, he said he was shocked to get 300 RSVPs.

Elliott Management’s Co-CEO Jonathan Pollock has listed a pair of apartments at the Apthorp, a local landmark, for a combined $25 million.Photo:John Lamparski/Getty Images“It’s gone into overdrive,” he said. “There was always a migration, but Covid gave people a reason just beyond just taxes. It pushed them over the edge.”

At the same time, some wealthy financiers are trying to unload their homes back in New York. Moves by high-net worth financiers are closely watched, particularly in light of predictions of a looming budget crisis in New York. The fate of the new listings may also be a bellwether for the Manhattan luxury market,

which got hammered by Covid-19in 2020 but has begun to show some signs of life in the past several months.“If you think of New York City as a ballet, right now the city is at intermission,” said real-estate agent Jason Haber at Warburg Realty. “During intermission, some people get restless and don’t come back for the next act. That’s what’s happening now.”

One of those listings is at the Four Seasons Residences at 30 Park Place, a slim tower in the Financial District that was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. Asking $39.5 million, it is owned by Jesse Cohn, a partner at Elliott who as head of its U.S. activism practice has led campaigns at Twitter and AT&T.

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Mr. Cohn’s unit. Wall Street has been moving to Florida, attracted to more favorable tax policies and sunnier climes. The pandemic has accelerated the momentum.Photo:Will EllisOver 6,000 square feet with five bedrooms, the property has panoramic views of the downtown skyline, according to the listing posted by Leonard Steinberg of real-estate brokerage Compass. The interiors include terrazzo and hardwood flooring, custom limestone plaster walls, a fireplace clad in rounded marble slabs that extend to the ceiling and an office fit for a master of the universe, with a crescent-shaped desk framed by a large window.

Mr. Cohn, who is in his early 40s, bought the apartment in 2017 for $30 million, records show, and the listing shows it has since been renovated. Mr. Cohn plans to live near Elliott’s new West Palm Beach headquarters, people familiar with the matter said.

Further north on the Upper West Side, Elliott Management’s Co-CEO Jonathan Pollock has listed a pair of apartments at the Apthorp building, a local landmark, for a combined $25 million, according to public records and StreetEasy. The larger of the two, a 10-room, roughly 5,300-square-foot unit, has a large entry gallery with mosaic floors, intricate moldings and plasterwork, herringbone floors and multiple decorative fireplaces. The smaller adjacent apartment is about 3,100 square feet with three bedrooms, the listings show.

Mr. Pollock and his wife paid about $14 million for the two apartments in 2010, records show. His agent, Sherry A. Matays of the Corcoran Group, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Pollock has been living in the West Palm Beach area, the people said.

Paul Singer, Elliott’s founder and a noted kingmaker for Republican political candidates, has also listed his own apartment. Located on the Upper West Side in the Beresford building, another local landmark whose residents have included comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the unit listed for $40 million in September, according to property records and listing website StreetEasy.

Elliott’s Mr. Singer plans to primarily live outside of New York state but remain in the Northeast.Photo:NBCU/Getty ImagesThe 15-room, roughly 7,500-square-foot apartment, a classic New York co-op with sprawling views over Central Park, has a wood-paneled library and office and a room devoted to wine storage, according to the listing. The billionaire plans to primarily live outside of New York state but remain in the Northeast, the people said.

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Other hedge-fund executives decamping to Florida include billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, who relocated to his home on Miami’s exclusive Indian Creek Village island with his wife in 2019 before formally moving his firm from Midtown Manhattan to a modern office tower north of Miami.

Meanwhile, Mr. Icahn’s Manhattan apartment, a penthouse at Museum Tower on West 53rd Street, is still on the market after more than a year and has undergone a price cut from $35 million to $30 million, StreetEasy shows. The apartment has a 75-foot-long gallery with patterned floors made from “the same limestone specified by I.M. Pei for the Louvre Pyramid,” said the listing.

The departure of Mr. Icahnfeels like the end of an era. The financier, who moved into the building in the 1980s, was known for extending dinner invitations to the chief executives of companies he targeted for lagging performance.Other hedge-fund executives moving to Florida include billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, seen here with his wife Gail Icahn.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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