Monday, October 6, 2003

Buyers trying to capture Ky. castle

The Associated Press

VERSAILLES, Ky. - Numerous prospective buyers have called seeking information about the castle that sits for sale near Versailles.

Rex Martin Sr., the castle's builder, died in August at age 72. Since then people who have wanted to buy it in the past are expressing renewed interest, said his son, Rex Martin Jr.

The castle sits off U.S. 60 between Versailles and Lexington. Martin said buyers have suggested using the castle as a home or for business - two calls mentioned using it as a winery, others mentioned a bed-and-breakfast.

Martin said the castle will probably be sold privately. To put it on the market with a real estate agent would generate publicity and "also a higher price, but huge publicity is not something Linda and I want," Martin said, referring to Linda Wright Martin, his father's second wife.

The Woodford County property valuation administrator's office lists the fair cash value of the castle, its surrounding 50 acres, a tobacco barn, and a mobile home at $1,697,000.

The idea for the castle came when Rex Martin Sr. and his first wife, Caroline, fell in love with homes with big walls around them after touring Europe. After they returned home, the couple looked for land where they could build a house surrounded by an 8- to 10-foot wall. They bought acreage in 1968 at the corner of U.S. 60 and Pisgah Pike in Woodford County.

Inside the walls is an unfinished house with seven bedrooms and a swimming pool. The Martins divorced in 1975, while the castle was still under construction, and never moved in. The publicity-shy Rex Martin Sr. put the structure up for sale, but no deal was ever struck.

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Sunday's local news report