Loony Bin deal is close to closing

WICHITA — The final contract is yet to be signed, but Loony Bin co-owner Larry Marks is confident the club will open on St. Francis downtown as early as September.

“It looks like we’re rolling ahead there,” he says.

“We are due to close on it in about a couple of weeks.”

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Marks and his partner, Jeff Jones, are interested in a 13,000-square-foot building between First and Second streets on St. Francis across from the urban park on the southeast corner of Second and St. Francis. Their Loony Bin had been at 21st and Woodlawn until it closed in late March.

They’re looking to do more than comedy in the new space.

“We may expand our entertainment format a little bit,” Marks says.

He says that could be trivia nights, improv and “even newlywed games and all kinds of stuff.”

There also will be room in the building to possibly do retail or to use the space for an office or apartments.

Marks says he and Jones are considering proposals and should make a decision on the extra space within 60 days.

Loony Bin likely to open this fall on St. Francis in greater Old Town area

UPDATED — The Loony Bin, which closed in late March, could reopen in the Old Town area by fall.

“We have a contract out on a building on St. Francis downtown,” says co-owner Larry Marks.

“That part’s real encouraging.”

In September, Have You Heard? reported that the club was looking to leave Oxford Square at the northwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn.

Marks, who lives in Oklahoma City, and co-owner Jeff Jones, who lives in Little Rock, still have a few things to iron out before the downtown deal is done.

“It’s just a matter of completing the financing process, which probably isn’t going to be no problem,” Marks says. “In today’s economy, you never know.”

The 13,000-square-foot building is between First and Second streets on St. Francis across from the urban park on the southeast corner of Second and St. Francis.

The Loony Bin had been in Oxford Square since 1999.

“That club was very special to us,” Marks says.

He and Jones also own Loony Bins in their hometowns and Tulsa, but Wichita was the best-performing one for a long time.

“That was the premier club for a good nine, 10 years,” Marks says.

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Loony Bin owners look to buy new space

WICHITA — Loony Bin owners Jeffrey Jones and Larry Marks are looking for a new site for their Wichita comedy club.

The club has been in Oxford Square at 21st and Woodlawn since it opened in 1999.

“When we opened in ’99, that was kind of a happening part of town,” Jones says.

He says growth is now much further east in addition to west.

“There was nothing going on out west when we opened.”

Now, Jones would like to split the difference.

“We’d just kind of like to be in a little more central location.”

A couple of weeks ago, Jones and Marks bid on property near Old Town but weren’t able to get it. Currently, they lease space, but now they’d like to own their own building.

“The difficulty is finding a location that has enough parking,” Jones says.

Parking combined with the high cost of property in Old Town, he says, “is just a real challenge.”

Jones and Marks also own clubs in Little Rock, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The Oxford Square lease is up in January. Jones says if he hasn’t found new space before then, he’ll try to get an extension where he is, but only for less rent.

If that doesn’t work, there’s a possibility the Loony Bin will temporarily close.

“Obviously,” Jones says, “we hope to find something.”