State Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd, who owns the Tennessee Smokies baseball team, has purchased about seven near Knoxville Old City for $6 million, reports The News Sentinel. He won’t say whether the property will be used for a future ballpark.
The Smokies team left Knoxville more than a decade ago in search of a new stadium and is now based in Sevier County.
“Jenny and I have a passion for the Old City and its development,” Boyd said in a statement Wednesday morning. “We have been and continue to be very opportunistic buying property there for redevelopment.”
Boyd, whose wife owns and operates the Jig & Reel restaurant and who owns the Lonesome Dove building in the Old City, has now acquired the entire city block between Jackson and Willow avenues and Florida and Patton streets and two adjacent properties. Tim Love operates the Lonesome Dove restaurant.
Mike Frazier, owner of Knox Rail Salvage, which sells discounted construction material, said he had been negotiating with Boyd for 18 months over the property at 400 E. Jackson Ave. before deciding “with a great deal of trepidation” to sell the property. The land is in the industrial area known as the Magnolia Warehouse District.
Joel Piper, Frazier’s son-in-law and a principal at Knox Rail Salvage, said he exchanged emails with Boyd on Tuesday about the deal.
“He asked us to be discreet, but it’s an investment property (for Boyd),” Piper said.
Piper said Boyd did not discuss with the family his plans for the property.