There is a twist in the sale of the Columbus Chevrolet dealership

In a deal last week in which Legacy Chevrolet was sold to an Atlanta-based company, Legacy owner Emanuel Jones maintained control of the valuable Manchester Expressway property.

Son’s Automotive Group, based in Union City, Ga., purchased the Legacy dealership from Jones for an undisclosed amount, Jones confirmed Monday morning.

The deal closed on Thursday and the business is now operating under the Son’s banner.

Son’s owns an Acura dealership in Roswell, Honda and Kia dealerships in McDonough, Honda, Buick and Isuzu dealerships in Brunswick and a Mini dealership in Kennesaw. A 2013 story in Automotive News said Sons Automotive Group is owned by Clay, Slater and Street Nalley, the three sons Atlanta-area dealer Jim Nalley.

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Jones still owns the 23 acres and the buildings, he said on Monday. Son’s has an option to purchase the property, but it has not been exercised, Jones said.

Jones bought into the Columbus market when Columbus-based Bill Heard Enterprises, which owned 14 Chevrolet dealerships from coast to coast, filed for bankruptcy in October 2008. Bill Heard Chevrolet, on Heard family land along Manchester Expressway east of Peachtree Mall, was the flagship dealership for the nation’s largest Chevrolet dealer.

At the time, Jones paid about $25 million for the local Heard dealerships, Manchester Expressway property, furnishings and parts. The deal was approved in November 2008 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern Division of Alabama.

Jones still owns the Ford and Hyundai dealerships in McDonough, Ga., where he lives. He has owned that Ford dealership for about 25 years.

The Columbus Legacy stores employed 112 people under Jones’ ownership.

He is also a Georgia state senator representing District 10 that is primarily south of Atlanta. On Monday, Jones said there were political reasons for selling the Columbus dealership now.

“I have been in the Georgia Legislature for 14 years, and without fully announcing my intentions, I have ambitions of running for a higher office,” said Jones, a Democrat.

He said it would likely be seeking a federal office and he pointed to the possibility of running for one of the congressional seats.

Last September, there was speculation that Jones, who also owns a home in southern Harris County, was preparing to sell the dealership he had owned and operated for nearly a decade. Two classified legal advertisements were published in the Ledger-Enquirer indicating a possible name change for the business.

The advertisements, which were filed with the Muscogee County Superior Court, were notices of a trade name for the businesses operated at 3615 Manchester Expressway.

Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams

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