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New owners acquire historic Frost House for record price of $850,000

New owners acquire historic Frost House for record price of $850,000

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series

New owners have acquired the historic Frost House — a rare prefabricated home that embodies 1960s design — for $850,000, a record for the Michigan City market off the lakefront and more than $100,000 over the list price.

Previous owners Karen Valentine and Bob Coscarelli had purchased the 2,340-square-foot architectural gem, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for $192,000 five years ago.

The rectangular glass and steel three-bedroom house at 3215 Cleveland Ave. in Michigan City was one of fewer than 100 mass-produced homes made with baked enamel panels by Alside Homes Corp. of Akron, Ohio in the 1960s. The long, flat-roofed prefab home was designed by Emil Tessin, evoking the International Style of architecture and the Modern Movement.

The distinctive dwelling adorned with white, blue and yellow aluminum panels was originally owned by Dr. Robert Frost and Amelia Frost.

Green Door Books is writing its next chapter. The used bookstore, known for its art shows, $1 books, extensive zine library and namesake green door, is moving to a bigger spot in downtown Hobart after the local chain Toys in the Attic bowed out.

Coscarelli and Valentine found the house and its mid-century modern furnishings and Knoll furniture in mint-quality condition when they bought it sight unseen in 2016. They worked to preserve it, chronicle its history on website and document it on an Instagram account with 11,800 followers. It's generated a lot of media coverage, including from Dwell, Curbed and Crain's Chicago Business, which described it as a "time capsule of fashionable life in the 1960s" with "'Mad Men' cool."

They were able to get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places last year and listed it for sale in March. Bids came in from as far as California.

“Drawing interest from as far as California, this iconic property eventually had 10 offers," real estate agent Rudy Conner of @properties said. "The new stewards took ownership on May 14 and are committed to continuing the legacy left by Bob Coscarelli and Karen Valentine. The property is just magnificent. It's really a testament to them that I had over 100 email inquiries, and dozens of phone calls and texts from interested buyers."

Coming Sunday, ride along with Specialist Dyer as he patrols LaPorte.

The new owners, who are from Chicago, did not wish to be identified.

“Rudy sold us the home sight unseen and we could not have been more grateful for her savvy assistance," Valentine and Coscarelli said in a statement. "In learning the home was a collaboration by design legends Emil Tessin, Paul McCobb and Knoll, preservation was first and foremost on our minds. We thoughtfully updated only where it was required, with new additions of garden, fence and the pool built to respect the original design aesthetic. We are humbled to have left a small legacy in obtaining a National Historic Place registry designation. When it came time to sell, Rudy was our only choice. We knew her diligence would pay off in finding us like-minded stewards to continue The Frost House legacy and to achieve our desired sales price and terms for this unique property."


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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