Chicago’s wealthiest billionaire relocating business headquarters to Florida, dealing dilapidated city big loss

Billionaire Ken Griffin is relocating to Miami and moving his company with him, quitting Chicago after more than three decades.

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In a recent memo, the head of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel told staff he was relocating the company’s headquarters and its associated securities division to Miami. About 300 employees are slated to occupy the new Miami office in the financial district of that city within about a year, according to a company spokesman.

The company will not lose its Chicago footprint completely as it intends to retain an office. The company has about 1,000 employees in Illinois.

Citadel has 16 offices around the world.

Griffin did not divulge any negative comments about Chicago or Illinois in his announcement, but previously mentioned the increase in crime and violence in the city as one of many reasons he was considering moving the company.

According to further information provided by Citadel, other factors that influenced Griffin’s decision included the stabbing of a Citadel employee a block from the office, a carjacking attempt of Griffin’s car, and “mass shootings, riots and looting a few blocks from Griffin’s house” in the Gold Coast.

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Griffin founded Citadel in Chicago in 1990 after he graduated from Harvard University.

The announcement was no surprise to Mayor Lori Lightfoot whose spokesperson reported that Citadel’s management had been “signaling for some time” a move to Florida.

“While this announcement is not a surprise, it’s still disappointing,” a Mayor’s Office statement read.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez went on Twitter to celebrate the news of Griffin’s welcome which he said he can “now officially call a Miamian.”

The move is the latest in a string of companies relocating from Chicago to other states.

In May, Boeing announced that the company would move its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, after 21 years in Chicago. Caterpillar, based in suburban Deerfield, said earlier this month it would move its headquarters to Irving, Texas.

The addition of two large companies, Kellogg and Abbott, to the economy of the city could help offset the absence of Citadel. Kellogg said earlier this week it intends to split into three companies, including one based in Chicago. Abbott, a health care company, is renting more than 100,000 square feet inside the Willis Tower, according to Crain’s.

Relocating to Florida will be a homecoming of sorts for Griffin, who was born in Daytona Beach and lived much of his childhood in Boca Raton.

Over the past 30 years in Chicago, Griffin donated more than $600 million to an array of educational, cultural, medical and civic organizations, his representative stated. A spokesman for The Citadel said he will give an additional $100 million in the next few days.

He has also made significant donations to local political causes and candidates. He has given nearly $50 million to a group opposed to a progressive income tax in Illinois, battling fellow billionaire Governor Pritzker on opposite sides of the issue. Illinois voters rejected the state’s move to a progressive income tax in the last elections.

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