The spread, The garish home at 4923 Kessler Boulevard East Drive is to local realtors what Moby Dick was to Captain Ahab and his crew: an elusive animal that could not be killed. At 29,500 square feet, it approximates the Taj Mahal in size and almost ornament. The Kessler Colossus has long been an Indy legend that some love and some don’t. It was dubbed the “ugliest house in America” online when it came on and went off the market for the past 14 years.
The house was a wacky decade-long project by Jerry A. Hostetler, aka “Mr. Big, ”a 500-pound pimp transformed into a construction tycoon. Hostetler turned an ordinary ranch house in a northeastern neighborhood into terrain suitable for a megalomaniac dictator. Mr. Big liked statues: dolphins, polar bears, mermaids, gargoyles – whatever he could find, he bought. He built a garage for 12 cars, installed countless terraces and balconies (all without handrails), equipped his dining room with a hall of mirrors and switched on 38 light switches in neat rows in the living room.
Hostetler died alone in the house in 2006, and Chad Folkening, a Hoosier who made a fortune buying and selling internet domains, bought the place, repaired it and tried to sell it in 2012, selling the property for 2.2 Listed million dollars. Folkening knew it wasn’t for everyone, but he saw potential in the rare design. In his eyes, there is more to the house than the internet can see. “Art is in the eye of the beholder,” he says, “and it’s unique and still contains many original materials such as granite made of white ice, pink stones, Italian tiles and a lot of windows and lights. It is a love / hate property and one of a kind, but it has a very limited pool of buyers. “
The house was put on the market five times in seven years because agent after agent couldn’t sell it. It was last listed for $ 1.2 million in August 2018. Listing agent JJ Canull said he needed $ 300,000 to $ 500,000 worth of work. He accepted the listing after several other brokers failed and was excited about the challenge.
“You’re selling this house, you don’t have to have a sales pitch for the rest of your career,” he says. “That would be the only thing you need on your résumé: I sold the ugliest house in America.”
However, selling the giant turned out to be more difficult than killing a white whale. Canull says a number of “socially awkward people with a lot of money” were interested. A man who wanted parking for 12 cars claimed he was going to make an offer well above list price but never got through.
Melissa Trahan, a local realtor who tried unsuccessfully to sell the house a few years ago, says the “ugliest house stories” were essentially fake news. “It’s a very nice place when you go in,” she says. Beauty or beast? It’s up to you to judge – the home is listed on Airbnb for stays of up to 23 people from $ 1,250 a night. Even though the house isn’t on the market, Canull still believes the right buyer is out there somewhere. “It would be perfect for a cult,” he says.
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