Local businessman and philanthropist Randy Boyd continues to scoop up major pieces of land in the Old City, this time paying a combined $6 million for one of the Knox Rail Salvage properties and a nearby parcel.
The downtown property, just east of Hall of Fame Boulevard and the James White Parkway, represents more than seven acres.
The purchases include: 400 East Jackson Ave.; 651 Willow Ave.; 501 Willow Ave.; and 0 Patton Street.
The property was acquired by RR Land, a limited liability company led by Boyd.
Boyd, who also is the state’s commissioner of economic and community development, purchased the land Sept. 1 from Knox Rail Salvage and its president Mike Frazier.
Boyd in March also paid $375,000 for the Lay Packing Company, which is next to Knox Rail Salvage on Jackson Street.
In all, Boyd’s footprint in that area of the Old City now extends to more than 11 acres.
The packing company, coupled with the salvage property, encompasses a 7-acre rectangle between east Jackson Avenue and Willow Avenue; and Patton Street and Florida Street.
The additional acreage is made up by the 0 Patton St. property bought last week and 650 Willow Ave., which he bought in March for $500,000.
Mobile Users: Click here to see the land purchased by Randy Boyd
Frazier also operates another Knox Rail Salvage, which sells home furnishing supplies, off Magnolia Avenue and does not plan to close it.
"We'll move the supplies (from Jackson Street) over there and to some other properties we're looking at, but we are not going out of business by any means," said Frazier, who bought the Jackson Street property in 2003 for $450,000.
Frazier said he spoke with Boyd during the sale and Boyd told him what he intends to do with the property.
"It's something that will be an asset to the community," he said, declining to elaborate.
WBIR 10News asked Frazier about the long-running rumors that Boyd, who owns the Tennessee Smokies baseball team in Sevier County, would build a stadium on the property.
"You might be on to something," he said. "But I don't want to say one way or the other."
Boyd bought the Smokies, a Chicago Cubs’ Class AA affiliate, in June 2013.
Boyd, who founded Knoxville-based Radio Systems Corp., which sells pet products branded “Pet Safe,” issued a short statement to WBIR.
“Jenny (his wife) and I believe in the future of the Old City and want to continue to make investments in the area when we can," he said. "At this time, we don’t have definite plans for this property.”
Boyd’s latest acquisitions in the Old City marks his biggest yet in the area and adds another site with ties to him and his family.
Boyd and his wife also own the Scottish-themed Jig & Reel pub on S. Central Street in the popular entertainment district.
Boyd Properties LLC also has title to the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, also on S. Central and across the street from the Jig & Reel.
Boyd in the past has said with all the purchases, he has no grand plan for Old City development – only a desire to invest in that part of town.
In February 2015, Boyd’s RR Land, LLC paid $225,000 for a parcel of land off East Depot Avenue in the Old City to create an urban community garden in conjunction with his wife and Abbey Fields Farm.
Randy and Jenny Boyd donated land for the project and Abbey Fields Farm provides land upkeep and general maintenance for the site. Residents can rent small plots for $100 per year to grow their own vegetables or flowers.
“We realized that to make a big difference, you really had to buy certain properties,” Boyd told WBIR in April. "So it’s not really a master strategy, but over the last decade I’ve been becoming a bigger believer in serendipity than strategy.”
Full Statement from Mike Frazier
With negotiations over the last 18 months, Randy Boyd and I found a number that worked for the both of us. I, with a great deal of trepidation, finally agreed to sell the property at 400 E. Jackson avenue. I wish Randy the very best with the future development of this property and appreciate his sincere efforts to improve our city.
My business, Knox Rail Salvage, is strong and profitable thanks to the hard work of our staff and the many east Tennesseans that have supported our low cost, high value philosophy over the last 37 years. We are excited about the next 37 years and the opportunities that lie ahead for our business. We will continue to serve east Tennessee and Southeast Kentucky with low cost solutions to their home improvement needs.
On a sidenote , in an effort to keep our moving costs low, we are offering big discounts on a wide range of home improvement products at our 400 E. Jackson location only as we seek to liquidate specific inventory categories.
THIS HAS NO IMPACT ON OUR RETAIL STORE LOCATED AT 200 EAST MAGNOLIA AVENUE.