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Funny Bone owner interested in buying Castle
The Castle Theater was sold Monday to Heartland Bank for $250,000 at a sheriff's foreclosure sale. The bank intends to resell the theater. (Pantagraph file photo, David Proeber)

BLOOMINGTON - The Funny Bone is considering a return to the Castle Theater, after moving last week to Fat Jack's, 511 N. Main St., Bloomington.

Comedy club owner Don Bassford said Tuesday he wants to purchase the Castle, 209 E. Washington St., to have comedy acts Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning in September. The Funny Bone is currently operating Thursdays at Fat Jack's while Bassford looks for a permanent home.

"The Castle is a beautiful place, we would love to go back there if at all possible … I will make an offer," Bassford said. "I wouldn't show movies (when the comedy club wasn't open), but I would find other things to do with it, rent it out for private parties and things like that."

Bassford tried to buy the theater once before but said he couldn't agree with Heartland Bank on a price.

Heartland bought the Castle Monday for $250,000 at a sheriff's foreclosure sale with intent to resell the property. At the time, bank attorney Tim Howard said Heartland couldn't entertain any offers until the sale is finalized in about a week. He said the bank had received significant interest but couldn't discuss specifics.

Heartland Vice President Chad Beaty, who attended Monday's auction, was unavailable Tuesday.

Bassford, meanwhile, is mulling an asking price and plans to hire an assessor to help.

Bassford said he's also received numerous calls from Twin City property owners interested in leasing him space. To cut down on phone calls, Bassford posted a letter at www.funnybonebloomington.com explaining why he left the Castle and where he would like to locate. He is considering bars, restaurants or hotels but said the Castle is his first choice.

The theater closed unexpectedly at the beginning of the year, and former theater owner Ben Slotky filed for bankruptcy in April with $1.8 million in debt, including more than $800,000 Slotky owes Heartland for the Castle. The case is pending.

As one of many creditors in that case, Heartland Bank then filed for foreclosure on the Castle to protect their interest in the property.

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