Indiana News

Lucas Buys Former Hilbert Mansion

Originally listed at $20 million, 34-acre estate finally sells for $3 million

10/6/2010

WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman
WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman

The home built by the founder of one downtown stadium's namesake has been bought by the namesake of another.

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Forrest Lucas, founder and president of Lucas Oil motor oil, has paid $3 million for the San Simeon-like Carmel estate built by former Conseco CEO Steve Hilbert.

Hilbert surrendered the house five years ago as part of a settlement with Conseco following his ouster from the company. Originally priced at $20 million, the 34-acre estate had sat unsold on the market since then.

Lucas and his wife Charlotte had viewed the property in 2008 but did not make an offer. Lucas says he opened negotiations five weeks ago after hearing rumors that an estate he calls "a work of art" might be chopped up into separate units.

Lucas and real estate agent Dick Richwine of the Dick Richwine Group say the $3 million offer was initially rejected, but when a higher bid fell through, the two sides quickly came to an agreement.

The Lucases own four homes, including one near Corydon, but Lucas says frequent business travel means he and his wife "live out of hotel rooms" more than anywhere else. The Lucases say they'll stay in their new home periodically over the next several weeks as they oversee refurnishing the mansion and making some minor repairs, but only on occasion after that.

Lucas says he plans to use the estate as a corporate retreat, and make it available for civic functions,  including the possibility of some tied to the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

He says viewing the estate as a company asset enabled him to justify the purchase price to himself. H notes it's roughly the same price as a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

"I don't want you think we're presumptuous (by buying the estate," Lucas said. "We're still Forrest and Charlotte."

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