CONYERS - Conyers Toyota will leave Rockdale County next year and open a new location near the Mall at Stonecrest in DeKalb County.
Emilio Redondo, owner of the local Toyota dealership, said Wednesday the new facility has been under construction for about four months and they anticipate moving there in the summer. He said the dealership purchased 12.5 acres on Mall Parkway, across from the Haverty's furniture store.
Conyers Toyota has been at its current location on the corner of Iris Drive and Portman Drive for about 15 years. The business employs 90 people.
The primary reason for the move was the need to expand, Redondo said. Further, the prospects of increased traffic by being close to the mall were appealing.
The area on Mall Parkway appears to be a magnet for new car dealerships. A Mazda dealership opened on Mall Parkway near Klondike Road last week. Redondo said CarMax has also purchased property in the area with plans to start building soon.
"When I bought the place four years ago, we had the intention to build, made a commitment to Toyota to build and that our business was growing," Redondo said. "So we bought three acres adjacent to our property and we needed more, but unfortunately we were landlocked. We were kind of forced to go out and look for alternatives, and that's where we wound up."
The three acres were part of the Maxell Corporation property the county purchased in 2002. The property fronts Parker Road and abuts Portman Drive. Conyers Toyota purchased the parcel from the county in 2004 and sought to buy more.
Redondo said he wanted to remain in Conyers but had no luck in acquiring more property from the county.
"We tried to stay," he said. "Originally, the build was going to take place here, but we just didn't get any cooperation from the county. We tried to buy a bit more land on the back of our property where the old Maxell building is, and we were told flat out it wasn't available."
Rockdale County spokeswoman Julie Mills said Wednesday she was unfamiliar with any offers to buy county land in the area and could not respond to Redondo's comments.
Several county-funded projects are underway along Parker Road. A new tennis center is being built on the north side of the former Maxell property, along with a small park that was established shortly after the county acquired the land.
The county also has plans to extend East Freeway Drive to create a traffic grid connecting Parker Road to Portman Drive to Old McDonough Highway.
Conyers Toyota collision center will remain and expand at the Conyers location, Redondo said. It is expected to employ 20 people.
"We will renovate the property and bring it up to the standards of a certified Toyota collision center," he said.
Jay Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org