Payday loan tycoon buys Palm Beach mansion for $29M

Famed island architect Marion Sims Wyeth designed 10k sf home

Allan Jones Buys Palm Beach Mansion for $29M
Allan Jones, Illinois Tool Works' Harold Byron Smith Jr (left) and 120 Via Del Lago (Carrieworkman, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, Northern Trust, 120 Via Del Lago via Giles Bradford)

Payday loan tycoon Allan Jones bought a Palm Beach mansion for $29.3 million from one of Chicago’s richest families. 

Jones bought the house at 120 Via Del Lago from the trust of the late Harold Byron Smith Jr., records show. Gary Pohrer of Douglas Elliman had the listing, and Suzanne Frisbie of the Corcoran Group brought the buyer.

Jones founded Cleveland, Tennessee-based Check Into Cash in 1993. It was one of the earliest payday loan operations in the U.S., and today has more than 1,100 stores across the country. In 1999, he founded the industry’s trade association, Community Financial Services Association of America. 

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Allan Jones Buys Palm Beach Mansion for $29M
120 Via Del Lago (Giles Bradford)

Smith was the patriarch of Chicago’s Smith family, which has a net worth of $19.8 billion, according to Forbes. His great-grandfather, Byron Smith, founded the financial services firm Northern Trust, as well as Illinois Tool Works, both of which the family still owns and leads. Harold Byron Smith Jr. led both companies for decades, and was a board member for W.W. Grainger and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, his obituary shows. He died in 2022.

Smith bought the non-waterfront Palm Beach mansion for $7.3 million in 2004, property records show. The 10,000-square-foot home was built in 1958 on 0.9 acres, according to records. It has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, four half-bathrooms and a pool, the listing shows. Famed Palm Beach architect Marion Sims Wyeth designed the estate. His other works include Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and the Florida Governor’s Mansion. 

The Smith family listed the mansion for $37.5 million in April of last year, Redfin shows. The price was cut to $33 million in December before selling for $29.3 million.

Palm Beach real estate’s busy season is underway, and agents say that despite the market’s post-pandemic cool-off, deals are closing. Tarpon Island, a 2.3-acre man-made private island that was listed for $187.5 million, found a buyer in March. How much spec developer Todd Glaser and his partners ultimately sold it for is to be determined. 
The trophy estate is one of a dozen for sale on the island this season, and part of the reason the ultra-luxury market is inspiring brokerages and agents to set up Palm Beach offices.