RBM’s changes get initial OK

The Sandy Springs Design Review Board has unanimously approved the renovation and expansion of RBM of Atlanta, which proposes several changes to all three of its buildings at 7640 Roswell Road.

The proposed changes result from Mercedes-Benz USA requiring dealers to modify their stores to comply with guidelines for all customer areas.

RBM plans to add approximately 2,800 square feet to the west side of its used-car sales building and to realign a driveway to accommodate the expansion.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz has requested that RBM remove the false gables with the Mercedes-Benz emblem in them. The color of the awnings on all of the buildings will change to a charcoal gray. RBM also will add an exterior canopy to the face of its showroom building and expand the showroom.

The service building on the site will be renovated so that the storefront will not show mullions.

Also on the agenda for the Design Review Board on May 26 were the proposed changes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 6450 Barfield Road. The Mormon church proposes to replace the asphalt on the site with concrete and to close the northeast entrance and replace it with landscaping. The church also plans to replace doors and windows as well as all curbs and sidewalks.

Because no representative from the church was at the meeting, the board deferred action.

Prado restaurant gets stimulus loan

FuegoMundo, a restaurant opening June 5 at The Prado in Sandy Springs, is the first business in Georgia to receive a federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loan under new rules established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus package enacted in February.

The SBA’s stimulus loans come with a 90 percent federal guarantee and no fees to the borrower. Signature Bank made the loan to help owner Masha Hleap-Hershkovitz open the South American-style wood-fire grill restaurant.

“We were already excited at the prospect of starting this new business,” she said. “But now that we have the benefit of this program to strengthen our business, we are wildly optimistic at the prospect of success.”

The SBA’s district director, Terri Denison, presented the loan check to Hleap-Hershkovitz during a ceremony May 27 at the restaurant (www.pre.fuegomundo.com).

In a news release, Denison explained the benefits of the SBA program: “With the higher guarantee, the lender risk was reduced. The elimination of the guarantee fees saved the borrower thousands of dollars that are now available for operating this new business venture. The bank loan and SBA guarantee were approved in a matter of hours.”