By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – Waymon Hale’s phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday as word spread that he had just become the new owner of the former People’s Stockyard property in Cookeville.
Hale’s winning bid, just north of $2.7 million dollars, landed him one of the largest available commercial properties inside Cookeville – 4.38 acres, to be exact – with frontage on one of the city’s busiest streets.
“Since I bought it Saturday, my phone has been pretty hot with folks calling,” he said.
Hale’s first venture into the bustling Cookeville real estate market has raised plenty of questions from citizens and developers alike. Now that we know who owns the property, perhaps the second most-common question is: what’s next for it?
“We’re in the construction/development business (and) hopefully in the next few months, we’ll probably start demoing the existing building up there and probably take everything down to the ground,” Hale said.
Hale, owner of Waymon Hale Construction, says for now the goal is to make the property a blank slate in hopes of attracting the property’s future tenant, whomever that may be.
“To be honest and answer your question “what (will go there)” I don’t know,” he told the UCBJ. “We could either build the property out ourselves and develop it ourself and lease it out to tenants or we will tract it up and sell it off,” he said. “Let’s hope we can get something on that land that will be beneficial for all of Putnam County.”
In the days since placing the winning bid, Hale says he’s received numerous phone calls, several of which from developers interested in purchasing the property directly from him or curious about entering into a joint venture partnership with him on the property.
“One of the realtors told me this is one of the largest tracts that’s available on South Jefferson (Avenue),” Hale said.
Located along the 800-block of S. Jefferson Avenue, the four-acre spread is conveniently located near I-40, retail shopping, and restaurants.
Like many Cookeville visitors, Hale passed by the stockyard many times on his way through town. A reminder of Cookeville’s deep agricultural roots, the stockyard, an active livestock market since it was built by R.D. Brooks in 1947, is a familiar sight to the more than 22,000 passersby each day.
“I did have my eye on it but it was for a pretty short while,” he said. “It’s a fantastic location, and I can’t imagine a better location.”