Construction on the new Rob Doll Nissan store in North Columbus has been suspended because of a running financial dispute between Doll and the company that is financing the project.
The dispute also has jeopardized future funding for car inventory for Doll’s dealerships in Columbus and Americus, Ga.
Doll and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp., which is financing the $10 million facility on Whitesville Road, have been in negotiations since April, Doll said.
In addition to financing the construction, Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. also finances the inventory for Doll’s two dealerships, the Box Road Nissan store and a Cadillac, Pontiac, Buick and GMC store in Americus.
“I am negotiating trying to revive the relationship,” Doll said. “We are trying to recapitalize under these challenging times.”
Julie Lawless, a spokeswoman for Nissan North America, said Thursday the company was in negotiations with Doll.
“But because we are in negotiations, we can’t comment right now,” Lawless said.
Phillips Construction Co., which is the general contractor, halted work June 1 after not being paid for work it had done, owner Larry Phillips said.
Phillips said he had no choice but to halt construction.
“I am in communication with Nissan and Rob,” Phillips said. “Nobody is mad with each other. But to continue when not getting paid, I would have to ask the subcontractors to do the same thing. I don’t want to ask them to do that.”
The new dealership, which Doll committed to about two years ago, is being built on an approximately 14-acre site. Currently, seven acres that Doll planned to use as outparcels are for sale.
The dealership is about 90 percent complete, Phillips said. Interior work, paving and landscaping are all that remains. It will take about five weeks to complete once work resumes, Phillips said.
At the center of Doll’s dispute with Nissan is an appraisal on the property that was done last year.
“The drain is clogged,” Doll said. “Nissan owes me money and I owe them (Phillips Construction) money. It has been clogged before, and we have gotten it unclogged.”
Doll’s stores still have cars on the lots that are being financed by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. But there will be no additional floor-plan inventory until issues with liquidity are resolved to Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.’s satisfaction, Doll said.
“We’re not closing any time soon,” he said. “I still have cars on the ground under floor plan here and in Americus.”
Doll said he is arranging to use a different floor-plan financier to be in place by July 1 for the Americus store.
Doll has also been talking to potential lenders and investors.
“Right now, there is no money in the marketplace,” Doll said.