Bel-Loc Diner at the corner of Joppa Road and Loch Raven Boulevard will probably be closing soon, and it's likely that a Starbucks will take its place.
A property deal between the two businesses hasn't happened yet, but Baltimore County Councilman David Marks said he wouldn't be surprised to see work beginning on the coffee shop by this fall.
And, he said, as much as it would've been nice to preserve Bel-Loc Diner's original structure, he didn’t think the Landmarks Preservation Committee would have taken on the property.
“The Bel-Loc Diner is unquestionably part of our local heritage,” Marks said. “But there are many challenges with renovating a deteriorating site.”
Some of those challenges include asbestos in the building and the building itself, which he said is “deteriorating.” A new site approved by the Design Review Panel that incorporates features of the original Bel-Loc Diner, was “the next best thing,” Marks said.
The Design Review Panel is a body of seven experts, including architects and landscape engineers. The panel is appointed by the county executive and tasked with encouraging good design on certain projects in Baltimore County.
The plans for Starbucks had to go through the panel, and will therefore incorporate elements of the diner, Marks said, which include original signage, steel countertops and photos of the diner.
Bill Doxanas, the owner of Bel-Loc Diner, told ABC2 it’s been a “privilege” to serve the community for so long.
“It’s been great for 52 years,” Doxanas said. “But time’s up.”
Doxanas said things were not “a done deal” yet with Starbucks, but he didn't want to comment further on the business side of things.
Marks said that, before any demolition or construction can begin, Starbucks still needs to acquire a permit and get approval from the State Highway Administration because a driveway leading into the Starbucks parking area will come off of Loch Raven Boulevard, a state-operated highway.
Starbucks and Doxanas will also have to reach an agreement for Starbucks to acquire the property.
Bel-Loc Diner remains open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.