Conseco Mansion Sells For a Song To Lucas Motor Oil President
It seems to be a good week for unloading hard-to-sell megahouses. First we heard about the sale price for Dunellen Hall, now in Indiana the pink palace known as Le Chateau Renaissance has sold for $3 million to Forrest Lucas, founder and president of Lucas Oil motor oil. The home is the former estate of Stephen Hilbert, the one-time head of the firm Conseco. Conseco, which is now insurance company CNO Financial Group Inc. put the home up for auction earlier this year. CNO took the house in 2005 after a dispute with Hilbert over millions he borrowed from the company to buy its stock.
We first saw this home in 2006 when it was the the 2006 Decorators' Show House. The estate was once valued at $25 million but was listed at $20 million in 2006. An auction of the household possessions raised more than $750,000 in February 2005. More recently the home was listed at $9.9 million. WIBC says that Lucas and his wife Charlotte toured the home in 2008 but didn't make an offer. He opened negotiations five weeks ago after hearing that the property might be divided into smaller units. At first his bid of $3 million was rejected but after another deal fell through an arrangement was made.
The seven-bedroom home is on nearly 34 acres. The 25,000 square foot main residence has a master suite with a private indoor lap pool. Continuing the fitness theme, there is also a sports pavilion with basketball and racquet ball courts, locker rooms designed to resemble Assembly Hall, the basketball arena at Indiana University. An outdoor infinity pool has a double waterfall and separate pool house. There is also a guest house and six carpeted parking bays. Hilbert has left his mark on the place in the form of lighting that bears his initials and murals, one of which is a likeness of Hilbert wearing a toga.
The WIBC article says that the Lucases own four homes but mostly stay in hotel rooms because of their travel schedule. They plan to stay in their new home periodically over the next several weeks to get the home in shape but only on occasion after that. They plan to use it mainly as a corporate retreat and make it available for civic functions, possibly some involving the 2012 Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Lucas pointed out that the home's sale price was roughly the same price as a 30-second Super Bowl ad.