Christel DeHaan home generating big interest from potential buyers, agent says

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(Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty)

Christel House International, which operates K-12 schools in high-poverty areas in the U.S. and abroad, says selling late founder Christel DeHaan’s home will allow the not-for-profit organization to expand its reach and serve more students.

DeHaan died in June 2020 at age 77. Her home, a 41,762-square-foot house on a 150-acre site at 4501 N. Michigan Road, went on the market Monday with an asking price of $14 million.

Mike Johnson, the Sotheby’s International Realty agent who is handling the listing, said the property has already generated a high level of interest. It is being marketed as a private residence, and Sotheby’s is rolling out a national marketing campaign to attract potential buyers.

As per DeHaan’s wishes, proceeds from the sale, plus other assets from DeHaan’s estate, will be used to establish an endowment that will “really significantly expand Christel House and its impact,” said the organization’s CEO, Bart Peterson.

“We have a rare opportunity … to expand what this organization does,” Peterson told IBJ on Wednesday. “There’s such great need everywhere in the world. We’re pretty enthusiastic about what we can do for the kids around the world that Christel devoted her life to.”

(Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty)

Christel House serves 6,688 students at nine schools: four in Indianapolis, two in India and one each in Jamaica, Mexico and South Africa. The organization also provides students with five years of post-graduation support in the form of financial, academic and career assistance through its Christel House College and Careers program.

Peterson said the organization plans to open additional schools, likely starting with international locations. Those new schools could be in countries where Christel House already operates, or they might be in new countries. The organization also is considering other ways it might grow—perhaps by expanding its existing schools or finding new ways to help the communities in which those schools operate.

DeHaan’s wish was that her estate and other assets be used to create an endowment to fund Christel House’s work after her death, Peterson said. He said the organization’s expansion plans are still being determined. As such, the organization does not currently have firm numbers as to the number of schools it might add, or the increase in enrollment it’s targeting, in coming years.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty)

DeHaan, a native of Germany, cofounded a timeshare exchange company called Resort Condominiums International in 1974. She sold the company in 1996 for $825 million, and in 1998 she established the not-for-profit organization Christel House International.

The Michigan Road home was completed in 2007. The estate is named Linden House, after the tree that is popular in her home country. DeHaan also had linden trees planted at the estate.

The lakeside home is unique in Indianapolis, with 61 rooms, five fireplaces, terraced patios, indoor and outdoor pools, acres of gardens and other amenities. Half of the home was designed to serve as DeHaan’s private residence and the other half is set up to accommodate events and gatherings.

“This is on a totally different level from anything I’ve ever seen,” Sotheby’s Johnson said.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty)

Johnson said he’s had a flood of interest in the property since the listing was posted on Monday, including several queries from agents with “prospective buyers, legitimate buyers with the wherewithal to purchase the property.”

So far, Johnson said, the prospective buyers have all been residents of the greater Indianapolis area. The first showing of the property is scheduled for Wednesday.

Johnson said the high level of interest suggests that the property might end up selling for more than the $14 million asking price.

The home is fully furnished. Furnishings are not included in the asking price, but the purchaser will be able to buy them for an additional amount, Johnson said. The purchaser will also have the option of acquiring an adjacent 18-acre parcel that is not part of the $14 million, 151-acre estate. That additional 18 acres is on the north side of the lake.

The property is zoned for residential use, Johnson said, and he anticipates that the purchaser will be an individual or family.

“We are marketing it as a residence, and for sale as a residence,” he said.

(Photo courtesy of Mike Johnson of Encore Sotheby’s International Realty)

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18 thoughts on “Christel DeHaan home generating big interest from potential buyers, agent says

  1. Another giant ego monument from the ridiculous wealthy people in Indy…..Hilbert, Simon and now DeHaan….you can buy this house for 3 million in a couple of years if you wait….Most likely an non profit will buy it…….

    1. What’s wrong with being ridiculously wealthy? These fortunes were EARNED by these people through vision and hard work. And having those fortunes has allowed them to do very good work for others that are less fortunate, as evidenced in this case by the schools Christel opened in impoverished countries to give children there a chance to get ahead. Half the house was designed to hold philanthropic events to raise money for charities. Why shouldn’t she be allowed to live in splendor in her golden years and then sell the house and donate the proceeds to charity? I’ve never understood why some people think that wealthy people somehow stole the money rather than earned it.

    2. Ok Bernie…. She didn’t inherit the money, she had an IDEA and in the process made wealth for an incalculable amount of other people, along with herself. As pointed out above, not only gave back, but in a very targeted, aggressive way calculated to reach people to make real change.

      In the other room, we have Clark typing Rich People Bad!!!

  2. What a gorgeous property! Seems like a deal to me with all the new construction euro box 2500 SQF houses downtown selling for over a Mil. Buying extra Lotto Tickets and rubbing my rabbits foot!

  3. The last home Stan Burton repped like this was Asherwood. He managed to sell it for two million less than was offered in first month on the market. Two years later costing the charity 2 million bucks and two years of maintenance carry. Highly doubtful this home sells above ask or any time soon

    1. Typical IBJ troll comment. Headline is “generating big interest” followed by “doubtful this home sells above ask or any time soon”. Sometimes I swear people are willing to argue the sky is purple.

  4. An effort was made in 2006 by the ad hoc remonstrance group Saving St. Maur to find a way to preserve the former monastery land on White River as conservation land. But Bart Peterson’s Metropolitan Development Commission couldn’t say no to a willful Cristel DeHaan who then spent more than a year filling in the extensive floodplain with thousands of dump truck loads of fill. The tax-and-spend stormwater management industry continues to prosper!

    1. That’s crazy but I believe it. The house is absolutely stunning for sure, but my environmental degree and background makes me think the entire house was built up (artificially) with the fill you mentioned. Heck the whole property looks like it had a “make over”. Hopefully it’s full of native grasses and plants.

    2. Jaron W. — The fill Clarke K mentioned is quite clear if you look at floodplain maps or even a topographic map. The main house is built on top of an artificial hill that’s about 15-20′ taller than everywhere else on the property. And it just so happens that that puts the footprint of the house and a small area around it above the flood zone. The rest of the property is floodplain and mostly worthless from a development perspective.

    3. Paying flood insurance is for the birds. Just elevate the entire property before construction. Duh.

  5. Its always the less fortunates and boring people with the most negative things to say about things that’s clearly out of their pay grade.I suggest those that have negative things to say to find a way to make millions and then you’ll see how it feels to have irrelevant people debate how you should or shouldn’t spend your money.The best feeling in the world.

  6. Non profits hate gifts with operating expenses so immediately monetizing the gift is genius. The money printing in Washington has caused 25-30 pct annual rise in paper wealth for the rich who love big houses with land near esteemed Crown Jewels like Butler, Newfields, Woodstock, Intl. School. And the city has many extremely successful “new” Americans with access to money fleeing weaker countries. Great property!

  7. Being wealthy or being poor should not require an apology. Opportunities for advancement are not equal throughout the diverse society.

    Some wealthy have provided much back to society and communities. Some have used wealth to manipulate others — individuals and agencies. Generalizations should be avoided.