Homebuilder Drops Plans To Redevelop Late Billionaire Mel Simon’s Mega Mansion ‘Asherwood’ – Aerial & Interior Views
September 4, 2014 by Billionaire Addresses
UPDATED December 21, 2017 – Homebuilder Paul Estridge has all but given up on plans to redevelop the sprawling Asherwood estate into a luxury home neighborhood. A year ago, Estridge and developer Michael Browning announced ambitious plans for the lavish but long-vacant mansion and property where the late mall magnate and Indiana Pacers co-owner Mel Simon lived with his wife, Bren. Bren Simon, who now lives in Colorado, listed the property for $25 million in 2014, but couldn’t find any takers. The seven-bedroom, 50,000-square-foot mansion sits on 106 acres on Ditch Road between 96th and 106th streets. Its amenities include a private 18-hole golf course, two swimming pools, a tennis court, a clubhouse, greenhouse, guest house, home theater and caterer-ready professional kitchen. With the property languishing on the market, Estridge and Browning reached a deal to purchase the land with an undisclosed sales price. They wanted to build about 100 homes that would range in price from $800,000 to $2 million, eliminating the golf course in the process. They planned to use the mansion and guest house as a luxury boutique hotel and community center called the Residence Club and Inn.
Estridge, the point man on the project, said the plans were undone by covenants former owner Ruth Lilly placed upon the land in 1959 to limit development to homes on large lots. Under the covenants, Estridge said the mansion would have to remain a residence, and he could only build about 90 homes. He said that’s not a project the market would support. “Most people are looking for smaller and easier to maintain home sites, particularly people of high net worth,” he said. They’re moving out of the 10,000 and 12,000 square foot houses to homes half that size, but with high features and finishes.”
Area homeowners hired attorney Tony Jost and sent Carmel and Estridge a letter that threatened legal action if Estridge broke the covenants. Jost could not be reached. Even so, there was a path forward. Estridge needed 100 percent of the adjacent landowners, 88 in all, to agree that he could ignore the covenants. He said he had convinced 78 to sign off on his plans when his contract to purchase the property from Bren Simon expired earlier this year. He said Simon declined to grant him an extension. She could not be reached for comment. Simon has not re-listed the property for sale. Estridge said he’d still like to redevelop the property if the opportunity arises, but he has nothing in the works at the moment, “I’m not one to give up easily so I’d still like to figure something out,” he said.
The estate is the most expensive residential property listed on the market locally in recent years.
Mel Simon bought the Asherwood home and property in 1973. Automotive engineer Louis H. Schwitzer built the original estate. Simon and his second wife, Bren, expanded the home. Mel Simon died in 2009. The sale came after the end of three years of litigation over his $1 billion estate, which ultimately was settled out of court.
Estate properties can be a hard sell. Lucas Oil co-founder Forrest Lucas bought Stephen Hilbert’s $35 million Carmel estate at auction for $3 million in 2010 after it languished for five years on the market. Like Estridge, Lucas also found opposition to plans to expand his estate from a residential use.
He bought the property in part to host fundraisers, weddings and similar events at the 11,200 event center on the property known as “the party barn.” After reviewing zoning earlier this year though, Carmel shut down the party barn to commercial uses. – Thank you to the IndyStar for the update.
Below is the original post about the estate being put on the market
The mega mansion and estate of the late shopping mall tycoon and billionaire Melvin ‘Mel’ Simon in Carmel, Indiana has finally been listed for sale. As one of our favorite properties ever listed, it reminds me of the estate I lived and worked at as a teen in Cary, Illinois. This one-of-a-kind, exclusive, estate was listed Tuesday for $25 million. With the outrageous prices some New York apartments are asking, we think the $25 million asking price is very reasonable if not downright cheap for everything this property has to offer.
The seven-bedroom, 51,000-square-foot house sits on 106 acres that includes two swimming pools, tennis courts and a private 18-hole golf course. The estate also offers a 7,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, greenhouse, pool house, and a 6000 sq.ft. guest house – among other maintenance buildings, as well as an expansive workout room, home theater, six fireplaces, eight full bathrooms, with 16 half-baths, and caterer-ready professional kitchen. This estate really has it all.
Automotive engineer Louis H. Schwitzer built the original estate and was purchased by Mel and Bren Simon after their marriage in 1972.
Simon and wife Bren, expanded the home, adding on a 10,000-square-foot addition that included a 4,000-square-foot master bedroom wing. The home looks almost new as it was renovated after a 1998 fire nearly destroyed the house. It was found that a candle accidentally lit the fabric-covered walls in one of the bedrooms on fire.
‘Asherwood’ as it is known, is the most expensive residential property on the market in Indiana, with the property tax on the estate of around $110,000.00 per year. It has been described as ‘World Class Charm with a European Flair’.
This is the estate in which there has been much speculation about since the billionaires death. What would happen to it has been in the headlines for the past 5 years since Mel Simon’s death. So much has been written about the estate and the family feud for the $1.1 billion personal fortune, that we just decided to give you a link to all the stories behind this billionaire family feud. It is quite a case of ‘rich people problems’.
Mel Simon, who was co-owner of the Indiana Pacers and co-founder of the Simon Property Group, died in 2009. At the time of his death, Simon was in the beginning processes of giving the estate to Indiana University. I guess his widow Bren didn’t share the same views as Mel about just ‘giving’ the estate away. You will see why if you read the links given to you above.
We would like to thank mibor.com for the listing photos. If interested in buying the property please contact us and we will put you in touch with the correct people.
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