Statement Concerning the Proposed Demolition of the Iconic Bel-Loc Diner

06/27/2016
By Preservation Maryland

Preservation Maryland strongly supports the rehabilitation and reuse of the Bel-Loc Diner, a Parkville, Maryland landmark for over 50 years. We believe that Starbucks and Baltimore County officials can achieve the laudable goal of revitalization without the demolition of this important vestige of the recent past.

Fortunately, many examples of how to adaptively reuse a unique structure like the Bel-Loc Diner exist – including many overseen by the Starbucks Corporation. In Hollywood, California, Starbucks recently repurposed a classic 1930s Art Deco gas station into a fully functioning coffee house.

Starbucks in repurposed gas station, courtesy The American Genius.

Starbucks in repurposed gas station, courtesy The American Genius.

In St. Louis, the company partnered with the Chipotle restaurant chain to rehabilitate and reuse an exceptional modernist saucer structure from the 1960s.

Starbucks reuse project in St. Louis, courtesy NextSTL.

Starbucks reuse project in St. Louis, courtesy NextSTL.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the practice of adaptively reusing mid-century structures, such as diners, has recently taken the area by storm, resulting in the rehabilitation of nearly 150 buildings of this kind in the past ten years alone. Kimber Lanning, Executive Director of Local First Arizona, an organization that supports the expansion of local businesses, explained, “It’s grown so much because people really love funky old buildings.”

Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding underscored his organization’s commitment to places like the Bel-Loc Diner,

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the Bel-Loc Diner could be adaptively reused. We can save the iconic structures and links to our past and still provide ample opportunities for revitalization and growth – often in the same structure.”

There are many alternatives to the bulldozer’s blade, and fortunately, the state’s Heritage Structure Rehabilitation tax credit and the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, along with a host of other programs and incentives make these alternatives to demolition financially possible – and potentially lucrative as studies have shown time and again.

Preservation Maryland remains optimistic about the future of the diner and stands ready to assist Starbucks and Baltimore County officials in identifying adaptive reuse strategies that would result in the long-term preservation of this important structure and component of Baltimore’s 20th century culture.

Sign the Petition to Encourage Starbucks and Baltimore Co. to Save the Bel-Loc Diner

 

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Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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