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Construction begins on Kokomo's newest, largest banquet hall
The owners of Kokomo's Pastariffic Restaurant and Casa Bella Banquet Hall are topping even themselves. Construction is beginning on a larger events center, the Bel Air, in the same block of South Webster Street as Pastariffic and Casa Bella. The Bel Air is scheduled to open September 30.

The new Bel Air center will be able to host as many as 500 people for events such as weddings, banquets and business and political events, says co-owner and CFO Cynthia Yazdani. "The Bel Air will be unique to Kokomo in that we are taking the idea of a banquet hall and bringing it into the 21st Century," she says.

Cynthia, her husband Mehrdad Yazdani and his brothers, Terry and Iraj, own Pastariffic and its related businesses. They obtained financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program through Community First Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation to assist in building and equipping Bel Air.

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide SBA 504 loans to owners of small businesses. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.

Kelly Ayers of Community First Bank says, "There is a major need in this community for this new concept. The family owners operate excellent businesses and serve really good Italian food. They have a grand vision for the Bel Air that exceeds anything else in the area."

Cynthia Yazdani says, "The 504 financing is great for us. It allows us to include everything we need to make the Bel Air a great place."

Pastariffic opened in a strip mall in 1987 and re-located to its present site in 1995. Since then, the Yazdani family has added the Sofia banquet room in the same building, the Casa Bella -- seating 200 for dinner events -- across the street and, this September, the Bel Air next to the Casa Bella.

"We carefully considered every step," says Cynthia. "We know the needs of our customers and our ability to meet those needs. We are excited about the Bel Air, and we continue to promise excellent food and service at all our facilities."

More than 50 people are employed at Pastariffic and the Casa Bella.

The Indiana Statewide CDC has invested over $459 million in more than 1,120 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving 26,500 jobs. Indiana Statewide CDC observed its 30th anniversary last year and is the most prolific CDC in Indiana.

Since Congress created the 504 program, SBA 504 loans have funded over $62 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses. In turn, those small firms have created or retained over 2.1 million jobs for the U.S. economy.

Indiana Statewide CDC Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, "SBA 504 loans are effective because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 20 years. The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan. With the guarantee, we can offer loan rates more favorable than conventional financing."

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