Indianapolis, IN

The third richest person in Indianapolis

Luay Rahil
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Indianapolis is known for the Indy 500, a renowned racetrack that opened in 1909.

However, there are other interesting things about the city. It is the home of 11 professional sports teams, the world's largest children's museum, and more.

Herb Simon owns more than one of these professional sports teams. He acquired his wealth by investing in real estate. His wealth exceeds $3.2 billion, making him the third richest person in Indianapolis.

Who is Herb Simon?

Herb Simon is a real estate developer and the owner of Indiana Pacers. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 23, 1934.

Unlike many billionaires I covered, Herb Simon didn't grow up with much money. Instead, Herbert and his two older brothers, Melvin and Fred, created Melvin Simon & Associates as a private company in 1960, making them billionaires. Herb's father was a tailor who immigrated from Central Europe to find a better place for his family. He worked hard to send his kids to college. Herb Simon graduated from The City College of New York with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

After graduating, he moved from New York.

Melvin Simon & Associates started with Melvin Simon, a leasing agent, asking his two brothers, Melvin and Fred, to leave New York and join him in Indiana to begin their own company.

When he talks about his success, he says, "I think with Mel being the oldest, he knew that he had to get out of the Bronx someday, and there were bigger worlds to conquer. And he just dragged me along with him."

The three brothers bought a shopping center in Bloomington, Indiana, before buying four more properties in Indianapolis. Then, in 1964, they purchased their first enclosed mall, and by 1967 they owned and managed more than 3,000,000 square feet. In 1993, the company went public, becoming the largest Real Estate Investment Trust in history. In 2009, his older brother Melvin passed away, leaving Herb as the company's decision-maker.

Today, Simon Property Group is one of the world's largest real estate investment trusts, with 233 properties globally, including 198 in the United States.

The family impacted Indianapolis's growth for the last 60 years.

Herb Simon owns the Indiana Pacers and other sports teams. Herb is 87 but in very good health. He works out twice daily and loves to eat dark chocolate. He also watches every Pacers game. The Simon family shaped Indianapolis by showing leadership and working with either party to develop and attract companies to Indianapolis. As a result, Herb plans to keep many of his assets in Indianapolis.

"The city's been very good to my family and me — very good. But, of course, it's a small city, and many people would love to have a franchise and move (the Pacers) to a bigger city, but my purpose and all the plans I've made for the succession is to extend the lease and be here."

Herb Simon philanthropy.

Herb Simon gives a lot of money via the Herbert Simon Family Foundation. The foundation supports organizations to create more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant communities, emphasizing Central Indiana. He also supports Jewish causes in the Indiana area and beyond.

If you had Herb's money, what causes would you support?

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