It all started with a love of music.
Jenny Boyd, wife of Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, had a dream to create a pub where groups like her Scottish band could play.
Jenny and Randy created Boyd's Jig and Reel to preserve their family's Scottish musical heritage. Every Tuesday, her band and others gather for a jam session around a table at the pub.
"That's how we got started in the Old City, buying what used to be Manhattan's and turning into Jenny's dream - Boyd's Jig and Reel," Randy Boyd, 57, said. "Once we became invested here, we started looking around thinking this is such a cool area wish it could be more."
The couple bought an apartment on Central Avenue. Then, they bought the iconic Patrick Sullivan's building across the street from their pub. They renovated it and recruited chef Tim Love to open his Lonesome Dove restaurant inside.
It didn't stop there.
"We own this whole block. Bouldere gifts are a tenant of ours, we own the building that houses Old City Java," said Boyd, who just finished two years as Tennessee's Economic and Community Development Commissioner.
Boyd's son, Thomas, started the Old City Wine Bar, and now is planning to expand to a restaurant next door.
Thomas and his brother, Harrison, also bought two buildings on Central Avenue where Good Golly Tamale and Armada used to be located. They're currently in the process of restoring the buildings into apartments and new retail.
Last year, Boyd purchased one of the Knox Rail Salvage properties and a nearby parcel in Knoxville's Old City for $6 million.
He now owns 11 acres in the Old City. His goal is to connect downtown to East Knoxville.
He's discussed moving the baseball team he owns, the Tennessee Smokies, back to Knoxville and building a stadium on the property where Knox Rail Salvage stands.
But Boyd said he still has almost a decade on his contract with Sevier County and has "no plans in place" to move the team anytime soon.
"Whether there's a stadium or not we will be knocking down the Knox Rail Salvage building the old Lay's packing building will come down," he said. "If nothing else, it will be one big grassy field. Something that looks appealing as the front door to your city."
The Boyds also purchased the 21,000-square-foot McWhorter building and plan to turn it into affordable office space for budding entrepreneurs.
"Our idea is to partner with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center to make the bottom floor a coding center so entrepreneurs can come learn about coding and start their business. High school students as well," he said.
The Boyds are not the only developers in the Old City.
Jon Clark recently spent $14 million renovating the Daniel building. He said new retail stores are opening this spring in addition to the apartments in the building.
"We're continuing to restore the Old City to make it as accessible and friendly as we can," Clark said.
Boyd doesn't even consider himself a developer.
"Property developer implies: I'm good at it and making money. Neither of the two are true," he said. "Property development really isn't my motivation. It's more historical preservation and love of our city."