Brickell Bayfront View.

Billionaire newcomer wants to move historic Miami house in Biscayne Bay

Ken Griffin, the billionaire founder and CEO of Citadel LLC, recently announced their plans to move a historical villa to a new location. The reason for the move is not yet known, but it has sparked concern and backlash from the community. Many residents and preservationists are rallying to save the villa, arguing that it is an important piece of Miami’s history and culture that should be preserved for future generations.

Citadel LLC (formerly known as Citadel Investment Group, LLC) is an American multinational hedge fund and financial services company that used to be based out of Chicago.

In September, Griffin bought the expansive bayfront estate of banker and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht near the Vizcaya Museum for a record $106 million dollars. The estate includes Villa Serena, the stately Mediterranean home of one of Miami’s and America’s most eminent historic figures, Progressive-era politician and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. The private home, protected as a historic site under city preservation law and meticulously restored by Arsht, has stood imposingly for 109 years on a limestone ridge overlooking Biscayne Bay.

The villa, designed by renowned architect Martin L. Hampton, is a prime example of Mediterranean Revival architecture, a style that was popular in Miami during the 1920s. The villa’s unique design and intricate details make it a standout among other buildings in the area. The villa also boasts a colorful history, having been home to several notable figures over the years, including a prominent businessman and a famous Hollywood star.

Many people in the community are worried that if the villa is moved, it will lose its historical context and significance. They argue that the villa should be preserved in its original location, where it can continue to be appreciated and enjoyed by the public.

The billionaire owner has yet to reveal their plans for the villa after it is moved, but many are concerned that it may be used for private gain rather than for the public’s enjoyment. Some are calling for the owner to donate the villa to a preservation society or for the government to step in and purchase the property for the public.

The future of Jennings Bryan villa is uncertain at this time, but the community is determined to fight for its preservation. As Miami continues to grow and evolve, it is important to remember and honor the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

But climate change and the rising of the oceans could play a large part in moving the house in the future as the property is located Bayfront next to the Rickenbacker causeway.

Why Jennings Bryan villa has a significant and rich history

WM Jennings Bryan house in Miami, just south of the Rickenbacker bridge.
WM Jennings Bryan house in Miami, just by the Rickenbacker bridge.

Jennings Bryan Villa, located in Miami by downtown, was built in the 1920s, is a prime example of Mediterranean Revival architecture, a style that was popular in Miami during the 1920s. The villa’s unique design and intricate details make it a standout among other buildings in the area.

In addition to its architectural significance, the villa also boasts a colorful history. It has been home to several notable figures over the years, including a prominent businessman and a famous Hollywood star. The villa has also served as a backdrop for many films and television shows, adding to its cultural significance.

The villa is also a notable example of the Mediterranean Revival architecture in Miami, which is an important part of Miami’s history and culture. The Mediterranean Revival style was popular in Miami during the 1920s, and it was a reflection of the city’s growing prosperity and status as a tourist destination. The style, characterized by red tile roofs, arched windows and doorways, and a symmetrical façade, was a nod to the Mediterranean architecture found in Spain, Italy, and other countries.

Jennings Bryan, a historic Miami villa, is currently facing a potential move by its billionaire owner Ken Griffin.
Jennings Bryan, a historic Miami villa, is currently facing a potential move by its billionaire owner Ken Griffin.

A seawall was just built recently on the entire Bayfront park by downtown Miami.

Historic homes that were picked up and moved to a new plot

One of the most famous examples of a moved historic home is the Gamble Garden Carriage House in Palo Alto, California. Originally built in 1902, the carriage house was part of the Gamble Garden Estate, which belonged to James Gamble, the co-founder of Procter & Gamble. In the 1970s, the carriage house was slated for demolition to make way for a new development. However, a group of local residents rallied to save the building and had it moved to its current location in Gamble Garden. Today, the carriage house serves as a popular event space and community center.

Gamble Garden Carriage in Palo Alto, CA, was also moved.
Gamble Garden Carriage in Palo Alto, CA, was also moved.

Another example is the 18th century Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm in Texas. The farmhouse, barns and other structures were moved to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site from their original location to preserve them and allow visitors to experience the rural lifestyle of early 20th century Texas.

The Octagon House in Washington D.C was built in 1799 as the residence of John Tayloe III, a wealthy plantation owner. It was moved to its current location in 1967 to make way for the construction of the John A. Wilson Building and now serves as a museum.

The Henry Ford Estate, Michigan is a historic home that was moved to its current location in Dearborn in the 1920s to save it from demolition. It now serves as a museum and is open to the public.

These historic homes were moved to a new plot to save them from demolition, to give them a new purpose or to allow them to be enjoyed by future generations, and also it could be a cost-effective way to preserve them.

How entire buildings are moved

A building on top of a moving truck.
A building on top of a moving truck.

Moving an entire building is a complex and daunting task that requires a great deal of planning, coordination and expertise. The process involves carefully dismantling the building, transporting it to a new location, and reassembling it. It’s an intricate process that requires the help of skilled professionals, such as engineers, architects, and movers, to ensure that the building is not damaged during the move.

The process of moving a building begins with a thorough assessment of the building’s structural integrity. Engineers will inspect the building to ensure that it is structurally sound and can withstand the move. They will also determine the best approach for dismantling and reassembling the building, taking into account factors such as the size and weight of the building, the type of foundation, and the distance of the move.

Once the assessment is complete, the building is carefully dismantled, piece by piece. This involves removing the roof, walls, floors, and other components of the building, and labeling and numbering each piece for easy reassembly. The building’s foundation is also carefully excavated, and any utilities, such as electricity and plumbing, are disconnected.

Next, the building is transported to its new location, usually on flatbed trucks or trailers. The journey can be long and challenging, and the building must be secured to the trucks to prevent damage during transport. Once the building arrives at its new location, it is reassembled piece by piece, using the labels and numbers to ensure that everything is put back in the right place. The foundation is also rebuilt and any utilities are reconnected.

Historical buildings, in particular, require special care and attention when moving. These buildings are often significant not only for their architectural style but also for their cultural and historical significance. Engineers and architects must take great care to ensure that the building’s unique features and details are preserved during the move. They must also work closely with preservationists and other experts to ensure that the building is reassembled in a way that is true to its original design and character.

Moving an entire building is a complex and daunting task, but it can be done successfully with the help of skilled professionals, a thorough assessment, and a lot of planning and coordination. When it comes to historical buildings, it requires extra care and attention to ensure that the building’s unique features and details are preserved, and that it is reassembled in a way that is true to its original design and character.

Max Francisco