• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Castle sold for $8.7 million

CASTLEPOST sold for $8.7 million last Friday to a group of local investors, among which are several physicians. Their plans include an on-site restaurant, working farm, and a special event for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. (Photo by John McGary)

The iconic castle on Lexington Road was sold by Thomas Post Friday for $8.7 million to a group of investors who call themselves Castle Catering, LLC. Construction on the castle began in 1969, but developer Rex Martin Sr. never finished work on the interior of the building that he'd begun after his then-wife admired castles on their European honeymoon. Post, a Florida attorney with Lexington roots, bought the castle and the 50 acres it sits on for $1.8 million in 2003. The next May, a fire burned parts of the castle, but Post rebuilt it, named it CastlePost, and in 2008, opened it as an inn and reception area. (Post did not return a Mondaycall from The Sun for comment.) The castle property had been for sale since 2010. The Sun corresponded via email at the request of Dr. Matthew Dawson, a member of Castle Catering, about his group's plans for the castle. Q: Why did your group buy it? A: We bought it because we love the space and the location. We've held a medical conference there for the last six years and have hosted physicians from all over the globe. They have an incredible time in such a unique venue, and we want to improve on the space and replicate that for all of Kentucky. We think Kentucky deserves a world-class event venue where they can host people from around the world like we have. Q: Do you have any particular memories about it - for example, driving past it as a child, going to a reception or event once it opened, etc.? A: Yes, all the owners are from this area and have driven by it our entire lives. We kind of assumed it was a "shell" and not really a castle until I actually toured it when thinking about hosting my event. I was blown away by the space and the fact that, "It's really a castle!" I get the exact same response from my guests, and I love seeing that on their faces. Q: Are any of the investors Woodford County residents? A: No. The investors live in Central Kentucky, but not inside county lines. One of the investors is looking to potentially move to Woodford County. We really love the area. Q: How will it be used? A: We plan to create a beautiful working farm on the property. We grew up in farming families, have owned farms, and we think there's so much potential for the 55 acres that exist there. We want to use the farm produce to supply the farm to table restaurant that will exist there. As physicians, we've seen misery after misery in our hospitals due to the poor nutrition that the standard American diet lends itself to. We want to do our part by demonstrating what real food is. We want to show that no food is more delicious than well-prepared, authentic, in-season, deeply healthy food that pulls its nutrients directly from our local soil. We also plan to transform and upgrade the interior space so that anyone can have their dream wedding or event there. There should be no reason anyone from Kentucky would travel outside the state to have a world-class venue. We want to rival the hospitality and service of places like Blackberry Farms in Tennessee, but do that on a smaller, more personal scale true to roots and values. The bed and breakfast will also continue to operate and rooms can be booked at www.thecastlepost.com. The rooms are under major renovation this summer, so the availability of those is very limited right now. Q: Any big events planned? A: Well, we're working on that. The eclipse is happening on Aug. 21, and we think that would be a great time to showcase some of the improvements we're making in the first month. What better place to view the eclipse than from the roof of the castle! If anyone is interested in that, then they should go to www.thecastlepost.com and sign up for the newsletter. We're going to email those people signed up once the event is planned and invite the first few people who respond. That first event will be small and only available for a small group. We'll release all of our other plans on the website and first to people who register on the site for updates. Q: What else would you like to say? A: We're really excited to work with the local people of Versailles. We want to have an event very soon for only residents of Versailles. We want to introduce ourselves and ask the people of the community what they want from this iconic property. We think there are a lot of opportunities to bring business to this area and also to fundraise for local charities. We have ideas of our own, but we want to hear from the local community as to what they want. They can let us know now if they don't want to wait for our invitation. Just use the contact us link on the website . and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for up-to-the-second updates. All of those links are on our website.

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