Jimmy Ellis has lived in Forsyth County for more than 40 years, but his family’s car dealership corporation sought out other locations as it expanded around metro Atlanta.
Now, he hopes the time is right to build one close to home.
“I’ve seen the growth, and the demographics are growing and actually perfect for premium dealership representation,” Ellis said.
The president and CEO of the Jim Ellis Automotive Group was present during a public meeting on Wednesday at Fowler Park where the company revealed it wants to transform a south Forsyth Ingles Supermarket into an Audi dealership.
The company has applied for a conditional-use permit to turn the 79,000-square-foot Ingles building at 6055 Bethelview Road into a dealership with 506 parking spaces on 12.12 acres.
Documents submitted to the Forsyth County Department of Planning & Community Development show that the Ingles building would be converted into a 42,000-square-foot showroom and 37,000-square-foot repair center.
Construction could begin next summer, Ellis said.
“Going to have a very high-end dealership, something most communities are real excited to have,” said Ethan Underwood, an attorney with Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC who is representing Jim Ellis Automotive Group. “There’s going to be a lot of folks who benefit from this.”
Jim Ellis Automotive Group has 18 dealerships in Buford, Chamblee, Kennesaw, Marietta and McDonough. The group sells a variety of makes, from Kia to Maserati. It has Audi dealerships in Atlanta and Marietta, Ellis said.
Their application includes 12 variances, including one to increase the number of parking spaces in front from 300 to 383 and another to allow truck deliveries from 4 a.m. to midnight.
An informal review by county staff was supportive of the dealership even without most of the variances, according to documents.
The Ingles location has suffered from nearby competition, particularly Kroger’s store in the Steeplechase retail center, though the North Carolina-based national grocery chain has tried to bolster their 32.84-acre corner lot near Exit 13 off Ga. 400.
In 2003, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved plans for The Shoppes at Bethelview, a 112,000-square-foot retail center that fizzled.This past June, commissioners approved a conditional-use permit for RaceTrac to build an around-the-clock gas station with a 5,400-square-foot convenience store and 32 parking spaces on the property.