An overgrown stretch of Sulphur Spring Road, south of the train overpass that serves as a gateway to Arbutus, is one step closer to becoming a new restaurant and retail/office space development. Developer Steven Whalen has acquired a liquor license for the property.
In an Oct. 22 hearing, the Baltimore County Liquor Commission approved the transfer of a liquor license to Whalen from Lansdowne Liquor Locker, LLC, which operated the now-defunct Moondog Cafe at 2200 Hammonds Ferry Rd. in Lansdowne.
Whalen said he intends to use the liquor license for an upscale restaurant on a 2-acre lot on Sulphur Spring Road, between the train overpass and the tanning salon that formerly housed the Arbutus Branch Library at the corner of Benson Avenue.
"We had an opportunity to pick up a license from Liquor Locker, which had been foreclosed," Whalen said. "We're holding it until we can find a user for the license."
At an "impromptu meeting" with three members of Arbutus Business and Professional Association last week, Whalen unveiled a conceptual plan for the development. It is expected to include a 6,800 square-foot restaurant, and a two-story building with retail stores on the ground floor and office space on the second floor.
"This is a very preliminary sketch and is subject to revision both as to placement of the building or buildings and the proposed uses," he explained in an email, accompanying images of the development.
Whalen said that the design has not been submitted to Baltimore County officials or vetted by any community groups, and represents an early stage in the development process.
The plans feature a development with two traffic entry points from Sulphur Spring Road. The far side of the property abuts Old Sulphur Spring Road, but Whalen said that traffic is not expected to use the old route that used to cross the Amtrak and CSX tracks and connected to central Arbutus.
The footprint of the development includes John's Auto Service, which has been in business on Old Sulphur Spring Road for more than 50 years.
Whalen said that he had wanted the parcel of property for a long time, but the owners of the repair shop weren't interested in selling until recently.
He said the repair shop owner approached him about selling the property several months ago.
Whalen said he has the property under contract and expects to strike a more permanent deal with the owners by the end of the year.
Whalen said he has not contracted with any restaurant yet. "We haven't talked with anybody who would like to have a restaurant there," he said.