Lucas Oil lube shop 'on hold'

June 14, 2010

Lucas Oil's plans to take its products to the mass market have been shelved.

The Corona, Calif.-based company said in May 2009 that it would open a 10,000-square-foot lube shop and car wash on U.S. 36 in Avon in October. The service center was to be an important effort by a company better known for its trucking and racing products to tap the consumer market.

But eight months after the scheduled opening, construction still has not begun.

Mike Wukmer, a partner at Ice Miller LLP who represents Lucas Oil, said the project is “on hold.”

“There were some issues that came up in regard to the structure of the deal,” he said, “and those have not been worked out yet.”

Lucas Oil was to partner with Indianapolis golf course owner and operator Jerry Hayslett on the $2 million station. Hayslett, director of golf at Eagle Creek Golf Club, said he’s no longer involved in the project but declined to elaborate.

Plans called for a 1,600-square-foot retail space where car owners could buy Lucas Oil-brand gear and learn about the company’s history. Founder Forrest Lucas, a native of Corydon, is a former truck driver. His company signed a $122 million, 20-year naming-rights contract for the home stadium of the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.

The company hired David Wagner, a Charlotte, N.C.-based architect, to design the Avon service center. Reached by phone, he also said he’s no longer involved in the project. He said Lucas Oil “decided to go in a different direction.”

The lube stations were to follow “green” building standards by using materials quarried in Indiana and by conserving water. Wagner said in May 2009 that he believed the project could be the first U.S. lube shop to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards.
Wukmer said the delay in the lube center’s construction is not a reflection on the company’s overall financial condition.

“The company is doing extremely well,” he said. “This has nothing to do with the operations of Lucas Oil.”

Lucas Oil still owns the property on which it is to build the lube center, Wukmer said. Colliers International, formerly Resource Commercial Real Estate, is the broker for adjoining land that is for sale.

Lucas Oil was little known outside trucking and racing until Lucas bought the naming rights to the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium.


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