While it took until Oct. of 2010 to close on all of this, the end came into view in December of 2008 in selling Indiana's Highest Profile property. Long before the press conference to announce the sale we quietly got a phone call and went to show the property to Forrest and Charlotte Lucas. It was just under two years before they would become the eventual owner. At that time the property was listed at 10 million dollars.
Now this wasn't a chance meeting. I had been doggedly sending information about the mansion to all kinds of people who may be a good fit and the Lucas family was on the list. I pestered them in Corydon and I pestered them in Corona. Finally....it paid off. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that central Indiana is incredibly fortunate to have the Lucas family as an asset and resource. Forrest and Charlotte are two of the nicer people you'd ever meet who seem to have a real passion for this state. I firmly believe they will give a tremendous amount back in the years ahead through their ownership of the mansion now formally called The Lucas Estate.
It was late morning on December 8, 2010 when I met them at the front gate of the property. It was drizzling and freezing rain on us then and wasn't a great day to see it but that was the day it had to be done. There were seven or eight of us who walked the property from Forrest and Charlotte to several of their employees and finally their attorneys. Unlike some showings it was casual and relaxed and the conversation was positive (you have to understand during some showings I got questioned on EVERY piece of information I shared which made for a long three hours). As we walked they talked about having a vision for the property, what types of things it could potentially be used for and the individual aspects of the entire estate. It ended positively with us being told they'd let us know. We weren't really sure and we'd had so many showings similar we didn't think it would progress. It was quiet on their front for 16 months. Things were about to change for us in the bigger picture and a path to finishing this project was on the horizon.
This mansion actually got sold because of a change in management at then Conseco, now CNO. We had been managed by a special projects manager who we've referred to as Mr. Big for the first three and a half years. In 2009 he was replaced and the company took a more hands on approach. As a side note, when Mr. Big was phased out, it was clear to us, no experts on it all, that a struggling Conseco was heading in a different, better path. They had been paying $500,000 plus a year to hold this mansion and no one questioned ANYTHING about how it was being handled (poorly by the way). When the campus took a more hands on approach we finally felt we had a fighting chance to sell it. Prior to that, not so much. The newer management called us, asked a lot of questions about the process and asked us how to end this. We told them in the short term to reduce the price from $10M to $7M and if we went through the Spring with no sale we would need to head towards some type of sealed bids auction. To the company's credit, they listened and were tremendously supportive. They wanted it done. We didn't know it but after 40 months of getting chewed out every 30 days on why we hadn't sold it, we were less than two years from a closing. greg cooper, east carmel indiana homes for sale, east carmel indiana neighborhoods, top selling carmel indiana broker agent realtor