Macon developer Jeff Jones dead at 57

lmorris@macon.comApril 29, 2013 

UDA_Godsey

Macon real estate developer Charles “Jeff” Jones died Monday.

WOODY MARSHALL — The Telegraph

Macon real estate developer Charles “Jeff” Jones, 57, died Monday morning after a long illness.

Jones was found at the Extended Stay America on Riverside Drive where he had been staying, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

“His death was due to a history of medical issues,” the coroner said. He most likely died of a heart attack, and no autopsy is scheduled.

The son of the late Charles H. Jones, who built a business empire in Middle Georgia, Jeff Jones became a prominent developer in his own right.

In 2005, Jones and Clay Murphey developed the Gateway Plaza office building on Mulberry Street, the first multi-story office building to be built in downtown Macon in decades.

“I’m proud of it,” Jones said in May 2005, as he gazed up at the glass-enclosed two-story atrium. The plaza was designed by Gene Dunwody Sr., with Dunwody/Beeland Architects Inc.

“In keeping with our downtown re-emergence, (Jones and Murphey) were instrumental in kicking that off in modern times with Gateway Plaza,” Dunwody said Monday.

“Jeff was challenging but a delight to work with,” he said. “We worked with him on a number of projects when he was with (his father) and later on his own.”

Jones had been sick for at least the past four years, Dunwody said. He also had been wrestling with financial difficulties in recent years.

In 2009, Piedmont Fields, a property management company run by Jones, held an option to buy a half-dozen convenience stores in north Georgia. The plan was to resell the businesses, and buyers -- all Indian nationals -- made deposits of about $700,000 on the contracts to buy the properties and were ready to operate the stores as soon as the sale closed.

When local banks didn’t want to lend money for the deals, Piedmont Fields turned to a Las Vegas company for funding. However, a year after Piedmont had paid more than $800,000, the Las Vegas company never delivered the financing, and the potential buyers began demanding the return of their money from Piedmont.

Lawsuits were filed by all parties involved, and in 2010 Jones filed for bankruptcy, which is still pending.

Mike Ford, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, said he was saddened to learn of Jones’ death.

“He was a very smart entrepreneur, and it’s very sad that he died at such a early age,” Ford said. “Had he been well, he would have made a huge impact in this whole area over his lifetime, and we’re going to miss him.”

Jones served on a number of boards, including NewTown Macon and the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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