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Sale pending for Asherwood estate

1/14/2021 12AM

Buyers include private resident, residential builder;

proceeds will support Songbook Foundation mission


An aerial view of the Asherwood estate - photo by C.J. Walker

An aerial view of the Asherwood estate - photo by C.J. Walker

CARMEL, Ind. – The Great American Songbook Foundation expects to close soon on the sale of the Asherwood estate in Carmel, gifted in 2017 by philanthropist Bren Simon to support the Foundation’s mission of music education and historic preservation.


A sale agreement for the 107-acre property on Ditch Road has been reached with two buyers: a private individual who intends to use the main house and 20 surrounding acres as a personal residence; and Indianapolis-based Gradison Land Development Inc., which is acquiring the remaining 87 acres including the two golf courses. The affiliated Gradison Design-Build is seeking plat approval from the City of Carmel for a 40-lot subdivision that would comply with existing zoning requirements.


The details of the agreement are confidential, but Songbook Foundation Executive Director Christopher Lewis said the sale proceeds will help to ensure the financial future of the nonprofit organization, headquartered on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.


“As we’ve stated previously, we considered many possibilities to maximize the value of Mrs. Simon’s generous gift before concluding that a sale was the best course for the Foundation,” Lewis said. “Now, with the financial security the sale provides, we can confidently move forward with our long-term planning.”


The Foundation maintains a vast archive of musical arrangements, recordings, memorabilia and personal items associated with the creators and performers of America’s timeless popular music, particularly the musical standards of jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Among its plans is establishing a Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Museum to house the collections and serve as a major educational and entertainment attraction. As a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy® Museum, the Songbook Foundation is drawing on expertise from that and other organizations in its planning process.


Gradison Design-Build Partner Joe Gradison said the property will be developed by Asherwood of Carmel, a development partnership between Gradison Design-Build and Old Town Design Group, two award winning custom-home building companies. The proposed redevelopment includes 40 private custom home lots, each one acre or greater in size. While the Asherwood estate home itself will remain a private residence, surrounding estate lots within the property will be available for sale later this year.


About the Great American Songbook Foundation
The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook – the timeless songs of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. A Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®, the Songbook Foundation is committed to preserving and elevating this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of the Songbook’s creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. More information is available at