With the Bel-Loc Diner announcing on Facebook that it would “eventually close,” members of the community and local groups have rallied, calling for the building to be preserved.
Amid reports that the building, which has stood for over 52 years, would be demolished, local nonprofit Preservation Maryland has launched a petition on its website, calling for Baltimore County and Starbucks to work together to save the building.
Preservation Maryland could not be immediately reached for comment. In their blog post released Monday, Nicholas Redding, executive director of Preservation Maryland, said he has “no doubt” that Bel-Loc Dinner “could be adaptively reused.”
“We can save the iconic structures and links to our past and still provide ample opportunities for revitalization and growth,” he said in the post.
In its blog post, Preservation Maryland listed a few examples of old buildings being repurposed, including a Starbucks that opened in California that operates out of a repurposed Art Deco gas station.
However, in the Facebook post, Bel-Loc Diner said that it “will not be possible to preserve the current structure.”
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks has said previously that the building cannot be preserved in its entirety, because the building itself is “deteriorating” and contains asbestos.
“The diner is deteriorating, and the small size of the lot makes it impossible to put a drive-thru at the location,” Marks said in an email. “All these are challenges we have discussed with the Baltimore County Historical Trust for several months. That is why I am focusing on preserving what I can of the diner should Starbucks replace the structure.”
According to Marks, the new Starbucks that could take the place of Bel-Loc Diner will incorporate elements of the diner, including the iconic signage from on top of the diner, steel countertops and photographs of the diner.
The diner has not yet been sold. Bill Doxanas, the owner of the restaurant, has declined to speak on the record about the business side of the deal with Starbucks. He has said, though, that things between Bel-Loc and Starbucks are not “a done deal.”
On Facebook, the Bel-Loc Diner’s post said that there is “nothing official yet” and asked patrons and customers to support the owner’s decision to sell the diner.
“Starbucks has been a great company to deal with and we only see positives moving forward as they will help to revitalize the area and become an asset to the community,” the post said.
Bel-Loc Diner remains open daily for breakfast and lunch.