5 big sports real estate tales of 2022: Frank Reich leaves town, Tony Stewart's $30M ranch

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INDIANAPOLIS — While Colts fans dreamed in March of an upcoming, glorious NFL season, NASCAR’s Tony Stewart had a $30 million Indiana ranch he wanted to sell, complete with an indoor 2-story waterfall and trout stream, a bowling alley and golf simulator.

By November, as the Colts’ season played out and things weren’t going so great, Frank Reich had a $1.9 million home on North Illinois Street he wanted to sell, just days after the Indianapolis Colts fired him as coach.

Real estate was hot in Indiana in 2022, a seller’s market, but among the everyday buying and selling of $350,000 homes in suburban neighborhoods were some huge, mansion-sized deals. IndyStar recently reported on the five most expensive homes sold in the Indy area in 2022.

$35 million in mansions: The 5 most expensive Indianapolis area homes sold in 2022

And while none of those top five were related to the sports world, there were plenty of big real estate stories involving athletes, coaches and sports in Indiana. Take a look at our top five.

Fired by Colts, Frank Reich sells Indy home

With a 40-33-1 record in four and a half seasons as coach of the Colts, Frank Reich was fired by the team Nov. 7. Five days later, Reich put his $1.9 million home on North Illinois Street up for sale.

According to records from MIBOR, the 7,848-square-foot home owned by Frank M. Reich and wife Linda, was listed Nov. 12 and, that same day, had a sale pending.

Reich purchased the Washington Township home for $1.5 million in 2018, according to real estate records, the same year he was hired as Colts coach after Josh McDaniels backed out.

“Enjoy a light open floor plan that flows from room to room. Floor to ceiling windows, soaring ceilings and incredible great room opens to new outdoor living space,” the MIBOR listing for Reich’s home read.

Other features of the home include a “beautiful Zen garden designed for those who enjoy yoga outdoors, downtime and sounds of nature,” a fenced yard for privacy and a three-car garage “that offers a dog bath for puppy spa days.”

The master suite includes his/her walk-in closets, a large designer bathroom and a fireplace. The home has two kitchens, one that opens to a “huge great room” and a separate chef’s kitchen for entertaining, the listing read. A pool with new stamped concrete adorns the back yard of the home.

Gone from Indy, Reich this week had a “strong” interview with the Carolina Panthers, according to Panthers’ beat writer Sheena Quick. Perhaps Reich’s next real estate deal will happen in North Carolina.

Ex-Pacer Justin Holiday unloads Fishers mansion

A $2.3 million Fishers estate sold in July in just 10 days and that 9,271-square-foot home belonged to ex-Pacer Justin Holiday.

Holiday bought the posh Fishers mansion in January 2021 during his time in Indiana, according to Hamilton County real estate records. Since being traded by the Pacers in February to the Sacramento Kings and then, in July, to the Atlanta Hawks, Holiday had no need for his luxurious Indiana home.

The five-bedroom, eight-bath property features a salt water pool, heated flooring in the master bathroom and “stunning waterfall island,” according to the real estate listing.

The home has refinished French oak hardwood flooring on the main and upper levels and a gourmet kitchen with all new appliances. A redesigned library has built-in bookshelves, cabinets and fireplace. The master bedroom has a “spa-like” bathroom that offers heated flooring, the listing says.

A walk-out basement features a custom wet bar, recreation room, fitness room and theater.

Tony Stewart’s $30 million Hidden Hollow Ranch

A native of Columbus, Ind., and three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Stewart put his nearly 20,000-square-foot home with six bedrooms and 11 baths up for sale in March.

Named Hidden Hollow Ranch, the rustic mansion was built in 2011 from twisted, lodgepole pine shipped in from the Northern Rockies. It is “the finest property ever offered for sale in the state of Indiana,” boasted the real estate listing.

Stewart’s property in Columbus is the most expensive to go on the market in the state’s history, according to real estate records.

Located on 415 wooded acres with a nine-acre stocked lake, elk, deer and turkey roam the preserve. The home’s six bedrooms feature suites with large windows looking out on the sprawling property’s lake and surrounding trees. Inside the great room, there is an 8,700-gallon freshwater aquarium.  

A large guesthouse and workshop are also part of Hidden Hollow Ranch. All the amenities come at a hefty estimated monthly mortgage, $140,043, according to the listing.

Perhaps there was no buyer who could foot that bill. Hidden Hollow Ranch was taken off the market in December.

Part basketball gym, part house for $299,000

A spacious, 11,000-square-foot single family residence, nestled among farm fields in Wilkinson, Indiana, went on the market in July. From the outside, it didn’t look much like a house at all. 

But what was inside the home had the real estate and sports world swooning.

Half basketball court. Half house. “This is an honest to goodness treat,” said the listing on F.C. Tucker. “A rare opportunity for your very own high school gym.”

The “home” was actually the former Wilkinson High School gym built in 1950. Its commercial status was rezoned to residential and the home was converted into a space with four bedrooms, three baths, a great room, spacious kitchen, play room and much more.

It was a bizarre, only-in-basketball-crazed-Indiana, real estate offering. The home is just eight miles from the gym in Knightstown where “Hoosiers” was filmed.

Secret deals: The real estate agents who help Colts, Pacers

Real estate is real estate, for the most part. Until Jim Irsay puts his Zionsville mansion up for sale. Or Malcolm Brogdon sells his Fishers estate while he’s still with the Pacers.

Real estate is real estate until Matt Ryan is looking for a castle or Paul George loses half a million unloading his Geist palace or speculation swirls around which Indy house or condo Andrew Luck is about to call home.

When real estate involves professional athletes and coaches, it can take a slightly different turn. A media-frenzied, inquiring minds want to know, kind of turn.

IndyStar sat down in August with Casey Ward Lewis and Matt McLaughlin, who have more than 55 years combined experience catering to the professional athletes of Indy as real estate brokers for F.C. Tucker. Decades of seeing those subtle and not-so-subtle differences when it comes to buying and selling homes alongside a sports star.

Yes, real estate is real estate, of course. But there are differences.

Take the F.C. Tucker lobby. It’s often off-limits for athletes. Lewis and McLaughlin have been known to sneak athletes into the building through the back door to avoid the public eye.

When an athlete is ready to purchase a home, both agents typically suggest that an LLC be formed with a different person’s name or a trust as the buyer.

“You come in with an alias because people make assumptions,” said McLaughlin. “Just because you make a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you’re going to pay whatever somebody’s asking. Your negotiations need to be pretty careful.”

Read more about the secret, high-speed world of sports real estate.

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @Dana Benbow. Reach her via e-mail: dbenbow@indystar.com.