Huge Anderson Circle Farm in Mercer County sells for $25 million

Anderson Circle Farm in Mercer County was amassed by late business executive and UK donor Ralph G. Anderson.
Anderson Circle Farm in Mercer County was amassed by late business executive and UK donor Ralph G. Anderson. Photo courtesy Schrader Real Estate & Auction Co.

The entire Anderson Circle Farm, more than 5,500 acres in Mercer County amassed by the late business executive Ralph G. Anderson, was sold Wednesday at auction to an unnamed out-of-state bidder for $25 million.

The buyer of the property, which was used primarily as farmland for cattle and crops, is expected to be identified publicly next week, said Carl Carter, spokesman for auction conductor Schrader Real Estate and Auction Co. of Columbia City, Ind.

The farmland had been divided into 54 tracts ranging in size from 2.6 to 405 acres. Most of the tracts, which included more than 3,500 acres of tillable farmland, adjoin one another.

"At one point, those 54 tracts were divided up among 30 different people," Carter said.

Essentially, if the combined buyers of the individual or multiple tracts could have outbid the single bidder, the land would have gone to a combination of people. However, the high bidder "was just not going to be denied," Carter said.

Carter called the $25 million a "good price."

"There wasn't really an appraisal because appraisals are based on comparables, and there isn't a comparable property to compare it to," he said.

Anderson, a Mercer County native, "essentially just kept buying the property next to him," Carter had said previously.

Anderson, a 1950 graduate of the University of Kentucky who died Feb. 13, 2010, at age 86, founded Cincinnati-based Belcan, one of the nation's largest engineering firms. His legacy includes the UK engineering building named for him; he was the lead donor for the $25 million building.

"Anderson Circle Farm was my father's passion, but now that he's gone, we're not using it to its full potential," Candace Anderson McCaw, Anderson's daughter, said in a statement in September that announced the auction.

"We got together as a family and decided that it would be better for us and for the Harrodsburg community to sell it at auction and put the land and homes in the hands of people who can enjoy the property for generations."