Asking price for Hilbert estate drops below $10M

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Carmel estate built for Conseco Inc. founder Stephen Hilbert had relatively limited appeal when it was on the market for $20 million. And more than one offer to buy the 40-acre property fell apart because of difficulty lining up financing.

Now the estate is listed at $9.9 million—less than half of the original asking price and a third of the $30 million it was estimated to be worth in 2001.

“Conseco [officials] decided they wanted to move it,” said Reed Oslan, a Chicago attorney who represents the insurer in its efforts to collect on loans Hilbert took out in the 1990s to buy company stock. “We had quite a bit of interest, but nobody stepped up and got the job done. … Somebody’s going to get a fabulous house for probably a third of the original cost.”

Conseco won control of the residence during a court battle with its former CEO and put it on the market in 2005.

Built in 1993, the estate at 1143 W. 116th St. features a 25,000-square-foot main house, 15,000-square-foot “sports palace,” guest house, catering facilities and power plant on “33.6 acres of pristine, rolling grounds,” according to the real estate listing. Another 7.6 acres of land also is included, offering the buyer some development potential.

The estate seems to have it all, but price has been an issue since it went on the market in mid-2005. Property taxes alone are more than $100,000 a year.

“The universe of potential buyers for a home in Carmel, Indiana, in excess of $10 million is incredibly small, even in good times,” Oslan said. “We thought it was priced right at $20 million four or five years ago. But the world has changed since then.”

Indeed, a national credit crisis and soft real estate market have taken their toll. Conseco lowered the price to $15 million in early 2009, then dropped it again in August, said local broker Greg Cooper, who is marketing the property with colleague Dick Richwine.

“This is a very, very challenging market,” said Cooper, of Century 21 Real Estate Group I. “It sounds cliché, but it’s just going to take the right situation.”

Potential buyers submitted bids even before the price started dropping, but no transaction made it to closing. Cooper blamed the tight credit markets, which made financing difficult.

In September 2007, newly formed think tank Carmel Institute offered the full $20 million, but that fell through. Conseco seemed close to having another agreement two months later when an unnamed woman represented by a local Carpenter Realtors agent made a bid for the Hilbert home. She even paid $1 million into an escrow fund, but then couldn’t secure the rest of her planned financing, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations. The deal fell through, and Conseco kept the woman’s money placed in escrow.

When Conseco CEO Jim Prieur was asked by a shareholder about the Hilbert home during the company’s annual shareholders meeting in May, he quipped, “Mr. Hilbert’s home is still on the market. … If everyone would like to line up afterward and make bids, I’d be happy to receive them.”


  • What Goes Around
    Maybe that old "scorched earth policy that Conseco and their pit bull attys didn't serve them to well now that that they still have that white elephant on their hands. I wonder how many millions of dollars they lost in upkeep???? Looks like Mr. Hilbert may just have "outnegotiated" them when he gave it back to them. Need to be careful what you wish for!!!
  • I'll bid on it
    Who do I call to make a bid on this property?
  • Hilbert Mansion
    Are you ready to buy?

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. "bike lanes, specialized lighting, decorative signage, public art, grass medians, trees and rain gardens" These are all nice things to have, but can we freaking get the hundreds of potholes all over the city fixed first?!?!?!!?!?!

  2. When a criminal with multiple prior convictions serves five days of a one year sentence and later kills a police officer with a weapon illegally in his posession, residents of Boone County need to pay a tax to drive to work... PERFECT Progressive logic.. If, on the other hand, a fund were to be set up to build more prisons and hire more guards to keep the known criminals off the streets, I'd be the first to contribute.

  3. Not a word about how much the taxpayers will be ripped off on this deal. Crime spirals out of control and the the social problems that cause it go unheeded by an administration that does not give a rats behind about the welfare of our citizens. There is no money for police or plowing snow (remember last winter) or or or or, but spend on a sports complex, and the cash flows out of the taxpayers pockets. This city is SICK

  4. Sounds like a competitor just wanted to cause a problem. I would think as long as they are not "selling" the alcohol to the residents it is no different than if I serve wine to dinner guests. With all the violent crime happening I would think they should turn their attention to real criminals. Let these older residents enjoy what pleasures they can. Then again those boozed up residents may pose a danger to society.

  5. Where did the money go from the 2007 Income tax increase for public safety that the Mayor used to stir opposition and win the election and then failed to repeal (although he promised he would when he was running for election)? Where did the money go from the water utility sale? Where did the money go from the parking meter deal? Why does the money have all these funds for TIF deals and redevelopment of Mass avenue, and subsidy for luxury high rises, parking garages in Broad Ripple, and granola chain grocery stores but can not find the money to take care of public safety. Commuters shouldn't have to pay the tax of failed leadership in Marion County by leaders that commuters have no say in electing. Taxation without representation.