The only opponent, who asked not to be identified or quoted, was a resident who lives across from the proposed Christian Brothers Automotive location in Loehmann’s Plaza at 8610 Roswell Road, who disapproved of adding yet another car repair site to the city’s main corridor.
However, the Houston-based company’s head of new store development, Jonathan Wakefield, pointed out the differences between familiar body shops and the 89-location franchise’s design.
“They look like this,” he said, pointing to photos of typical garages. “We look like a cottage.”
The 4,900-square-foot facility near the Sandy Springs Diner, in a shopping center owned by Lee Najjar of Duluth-based NAJCO Inc., will have 11 bays and 19 spaces but no overnight vehicle storage, Wakefield said, and it will be cleaner than most.
“This is not staged,” he said about a promotional photo of cars on racks suspended over floors which reflected light. “This is a business day.”
Wakefield said the city’s public works department guided his company through the rezoning process but let nothing slide.
“We made all the changes they wanted,” he said about adjustments like keeping sightlines clear of trees. “They were tough where they needed to be tough.”
Dr. Riva Wolkow of the Belle Isle Animal Hospital said her rezoning application to allow expansion of her building at 216 E. Belle Isle Road is a result of growth.
“We went from three to four [patients] a day to 16 a day,” she said about the cats and dogs cared for by her and her nine employees.
Part of the animal clinic’s popularity is its carryover from previous tenant Dr. Ted Schobert of Roswell, who requested and received a rezoning of the 3,400-square-foot building in 2010 so he could sell the property more easily.
“He had fabulously loyal clients,” said Wolkow, who left an Alpharetta practice to open her own in February 2011.
Wolkow said she plans to add 900 square feet of space for indoor dog runs and a cat suite, which her practice manager, Josh Camp, said has been greeted with enthusiasm.
“Everyone in our neighborhood is really happy about it,” he said about residential and commercial tenants.