Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin brought his appetite for marquee homes to London, shelling out 95 million pounds (US$122 million) for a historic mansion near Buckingham Palace.

Citadel LLC founder Griffin bought 3 Carlton Gardens, a 200-year-old home that overlooks St. James’s Park about half a mile from the Queen’s residence. The Georgian-era home built in the 1820s was redeveloped by property developer Mike Spink in a venture with Evans Randall Investors.

The purchase shows that there is still interest in top-end homes from the wealthiest buyers, even as the prospect of Brexit has cast a pall on the overall market. Griffin, who has an US$8.8 billion fortune, is the richest person from Illinois to feature on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people. He already owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property in New York and Chicago, according to the index.

Griffin has a long history of splashing out on prominent properties. He spent nearly US$300 million buying real estate in Chicago, Miami and New York between 2013 and 2015, according to the New York Times.

His shopping spree included US$30 million for two floors of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Chicago, a Miami Beach penthouse for US$60 million and around US$200 million worth of apartments in New York’s 220 Central Park South development. All three set records as their respective city’s most expensive real estate purchases at the time, according to the Times.

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Citadel LLC founder Ken Griffin. (Bloomberg)

Rich History

For all that, 3 Carlton Gardens will stand out in his portfolio. It housed the private office of Charles de Gaulle during World War II, and a statue of the French Resistance leader stands across the road.

The 20,000 square-foot (roughly 1,900 square-meter) house includes a gym, pool and underground extension. An asking price of 145 million pounds was originally discussed but in the past two years the house was offered for 125 million pounds, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the purchase.

“It’s an iconic property with great history,” said Charles McDowell, founder of Charles McDowell Properties. “He’s picked it up for a discount. For people who’ve got the money, there are real buying opportunities in London.”

During the global financial crisis, annual sales in London’s most expensive districts slipped below 4,500 for 10 months from January to October 2009. London’s current rut for high-end homes that has seen deals dip back below that level has now lasted for 23 straight months. Prices in London’s best districts are about 19 percent below their 2014 peak, according to data compiled by broker Savills Plc.

A spokesman for the developers declined to comment.