The Belmont Casino Bar and Grill that closed in downtown Fort Atkinson this fall remains for sale after no bids came in to match the set price during a Tuesday public auction by the Internal Revenue Service.
But the Belmont might not remain for sale for too long.
An open house and sale were held at the bar and restaurant, where no bidders were willing to offer the minimum price of $195,000.
Since a minimum bid is required to sell a property, the IRS now has set a new date of Tuesday, Nov. 19, for another auction. There also is a significant price reduction.
The new minimum bid is $125,000.
Scott Hamilton, property appraisal and liquidation specialist for the IRS, said a fair amount of people turned out for the sale and open house.
With no bid, he said, the IRS must give notice of another auction by placing a legal notice in the Daily Union for the next four weeks.
“We try to determine if the price point was too high,” he said.
Anyone offering to buy the property must put at least 20 percent of the approved bid down.
The Belmont Bar and Grill at 29 Sherman Ave. has been a staple in downtown Fort Atkinson for e decades. The building has a restaurant, drive-through window and a one-bedroom studio apartment on the second floor.
The adjoining parking area is included in the sale.
Hamilton said the property is a traditional foreclosure. The former owner, Richard Halverson, faced a lawsuit in federal court in August 2016 for unpaid taxes dating back to 1998. According to court documents, Halverson eventually filed taxes for the years 1998-2004 and 2010-11. The filing also showed unpaid taxes due. The outstanding tax liability was approximately $199,000.
Hamilton said the property went through bankruptcy and did not sell.
The Belmont Casino closed this fall.
For anyone who buys the property during the auction, the title is sold free and clear. Registration for the sale on Nov. 19 will begin at 2 p.m., with the sale taking place between 2 and 2:25 p.m. A successful bidder is required to put at least $25,000 down on the property at the time of the sale.
The bidder then has 60 days to pay the IRS the rest of the money. If the bidder cannot retain the rest of the money, the deposit is forfeited. The property is then offered again for sale or sold to the second highest bidder.
Matt Fay, who worked as a bartender and cook for eight years at the Belmont, said he’s heard rumors of people wanting to buy the place. And he said he would like the former family to keep the business. They were like a family to him, he said.
“That place is like a home,” he said. “It’s a historical staple in the community.”