KNOXVILLE - Knoxville leaders say they have not been approached by state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd about what he plans to do with the more than seven acres of property he bought last week in the Old City.
But, officials said, any major project in that area would require a major vetting process.
Boyd, who owns the Tennessee Smokies baseball team in Sevierville, paid $6 million for one of the Knox Rail Salvage properties and a nearby parcel last week.
The seller, Mike Frazier, told WBIR 10News that he spoke with Boyd during their 18 months of negotiating and Boyd told him what he wants to do with the property.
Frazier said it “will be an asset to the community,” but didn’t elaborate other than to tell WBIR reporters they “might be on to something” when asked about the long-running rumors that Boyd would build a stadium on the land and potentially relocate the Smokies team.
Boyd, a local businessman and philanthropist, told 10News that at this time he and his wife “don’t have definite plans for this property.”
City leaders on Thursday said they’ve worked often with the Boyd family, but so far haven’t talked with him about his latest land acquisition.
“Randy and Jenny Boyd are major property owners in the Old City, and so there have been many city dealings with them in recent years on various properties and projects,” said Jesse Mayshark, the city’s senior director of communications and government relations. “But we have had no proposals or requests from Randy Boyd or anyone else in regard to the future use of the Knox Rail Salvage property.”
Mayshark added: “Any request or proposal for any kind of public involvement in a redevelopment project would have to go through extensive public discussion and vetting, as is true of any redevelopment project.”
Mobile Users: Click here to see the land purchased by Randy Boyd
Boyd bought the Smokies, a Chicago Cubs’ Class AA affiliate, in June 2013.
Officials with the team declined to comment on Boyd’s land purchase.
Boyd’s contract with Sevier County and Sevierville, which co-own the stadium, runs out in 2025.
At that point, the team could agree to another lease or leave.
The city and county issued $19.4 million in bonds to pay for the stadium, which opened in 2000. Guidelines were built into the lease that would require the team to pay off whatever debt service, which would include interest on the initial bonds, is left if the team were to leave prior to 2025.
For example, if the team were to leave today, that could cost as much as $10 million, according to the contract.