Billionaire hedge funder buys at Waldorf Astoria

John Liew and his wife, Serena, paid 44% below original listing for condo on 45th floor

John Liew and Waldorf Astoria Residences (Chicago Booth, Google Maps)
John Liew and Waldorf Astoria Residences (Chicago Booth, Google Maps)

Chicago luxury buyers headed for the suburbs in greater numbers in 2020. But that didn’t mean they abandoned the city altogether.

In one of the last pricey home purchases of the year, billionaire hedge funder John Liew and his wife Serena paid $2.4 million for a 45th-floor condo at the Waldorf Astoria Residences in the Gold Coast, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The couple’s most recent buy marks a 44 percent discount from the $4.3 million seller Nixon Lauridsen listed the half-floor unit for in 2017. The price was slashed eight times before the condo was pulled off the market. The Liews bought the unit at 11 East Walton Street in an off-market deal, the Tribune reported. The listing agent was Berkshire Hathaway’s Chuck Heaver.

The Waldorf Astoria condo has three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, along with 10-foot ceilings, a pair of terraces and panoramic city and lake views.

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Liew co-founded AQR Capital Management based in Greenwich, Connecticut. In addition to a 6,700-square-foot home near the company’s office, the couple paid $13.5 million for a condo at Apogee tower in Miami’s South Beach in mid-2018.

In November, another billionaire, entrepreneur Joe Mansueto, agreed to buy the Waldorf Astoria Chicago hotel for $54 million. The 215-key hotel is part of the 60-story tower that includes the condo units.

Other high-profile names who bought units at the tower include Blackstone Group president Jon Gray, who paid $3.7 million for a 30th-floor property three years ago, according to the report.

The pandemic has had a notable impact on luxury purchases in the Chicago area. Of the 10 priciest homes that sold in Cook County in 2020, five were in the suburbs, all in Winnetka. That compared to just one suburban home cracking the top 10 list in 2019. And this year, just two of the 10 priciest home sales were in condo towers. They were: No. 9 Walton and Park Tower. [Tribune] — Alexi Friedman