Businessmen Zero In On Houses Of Country Music Royalty

This appeared in The Tennessean - December 8, 2014

It’s been about a year since Brian Oxley’s friend and business partner turned him on to the music of Johnny Cash.
The son of missionaries serving in Japan, Oxley hadn’t had much exposure to country music.

When Joe Ritchie sent him Cash’s American Series, Oxley immersed himself in all things Cash. A month later — in January — Oxley purchased the Caudill Drive home once lived in by Cash’s parents, Ray and Carrie.

Just a few weeks ago Oxley and Ritchie, both internationally successful businessmen, purchased Marty Stuart’s lakefront home for $2.75 million.

The two properties are across the street from each other on Caudill Drive in Hendersonville. Stuart’s home — separated by a plot of land once owned by Roy Orbison — is next to 4.5 acres previously owned by Cash.

The former Cash land made headlines earlier this year when a Texas investor announced plans to build a residential treatment facility on the property.

Following a backlash from neighbors who didn’t want to see the property rezoned for a commercial use, Lakehouse Holdings’ owner James Gresham withdrew his request to amend the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan in September.

It’s not known what Gresham’s plans are for the Cash property, and many speculated that Gresham had offered to buy Stuart’s property. Oxley said Stuart and his wife, entertainer Connie Smith, aren’t expected to move until the spring. Stuart was out of town on Monday, according to his assistant, and could not be reached for comment.
Stuart bought the home in 2001 for $615,000, according to the Sumner County Property Assessor’s Office.

The recent $2.75 million purchase price includes the three-bedroom home built by Braxton Dixon, as well as the lot next to it — the former site of Roy Orbison’s home. That home burned in 1968, killing two of Orbison’s young sons. Cash later purchased the property, planted an orchard on the site and promised to never build on it. Stuart bought the plot of land after Cash’s death, saying he too wanted to preserve it. Oxley says he has no plans to build on it either. They want to preserve history of homes

Oxley said he and Ritchie have no plans to use the home for a commercial use, or ask the city for any type of rezoning.

Oxley met with neighbors shortly after purchasing Stuart’s home in late November.

“I wanted to assure them that we’re going to be good neighbors and we’re not going to surprise anybody,” he said.
For now, the two just wanted to make sure the home was preserved for its musical and architectural history.

Stuart’s home, as well as what Oxley refers to as the “Mama Cash” property across the street, were both built by Dixon, who built Cash’s home in 1969. That home — purchased in 2005 by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees — burned to the ground in 2007. Lakehouse Holdings bought the property in March for $2 million.

And would Oxley, a former corporate executive, and Ritchie, who once owned the world’s largest commodities trading firm, be interested in buying the former Cash property next door?

Oxley said if Gresham decided to sell the property, he would be interested in pitching in as part of a group of people who wanted to buy it.

“And then the community could decide what the best use of that property would be,” he said.

By Tena Lee

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