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Sulphur Spring Road Development Acquires Liquor License

A restaurant and retail/office space is envisioned on two acres of undeveloped property on Sulphur Spring Road.

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.

Stephen W Whalen Jr October 26, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Nikki -- you'll get me in big trouble w my "boss" for leaving home on a Sunday at 7 PM, but I will try to make it. Again, understand that we are VERY early on in the process but I am happy to meet w whomever is interested just to discuss where we are, and what our preliminary plans -- subject to change -- look like right now. There's no plan on paper other than the concept which Bruce ran w the Patch article above. I probably can't confirm for sure, Nikki, til early Sunday afternoon. I'll put the burden on you to call me btwn 1:30-2:30 pm Sunday afternoon to confirm -- on my cell, not my office number. I think you have my cell phone from my voicemail to you a couple days ago? Leave a message and a callback number if you don't get me directly on Sunday. Thank you, ma'am! Steve Whalen
Nikki Marlatt-Young October 26, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Trust me when I say its truly no burden to call & confirm. I'm sure there are a few that can agree I am always on top of hunting them down to attend a meeting. :) I hope your "boss" would appreciate I pay a babysitter at least 3 times a month to attend not only the AIA meetings but other community meetings such as WPCRO and HIA as well. I do however understand if you are unable, I just feel its important to try and calm the storm. People do better when they understand or have at least been shown someone cares enough to speak with them directly. Thanks so much!
Paul Dongarra October 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I think it bears to mention that Mr. Whalen actually had the John's Auto Service property up zoned during the recent CZMP. That's right he petitioned to have land up-zoned that he didn't own. Naturally, Councilperson Quirk did what Mr. Whalen wanted. Whalen will say he doesn't give money to the councilperson. But his daughter, employees, personal fitness instructor, lawyers, etc. etc all do. Shame on Mr. Whalen for how he goes about conducting his business manipulating our system to his benefit. I'd suggest that Mr. Goldfarb give me a call so that I can put him in touch with the people needed to give the community the whole story of this situation.
Chuck October 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Thank You for bringing this to light, Mr. Dongarra.
Sara January 31, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Are there any current updates to this project? I am very interested to see what shops/restaurant are planned. We NEED some good anchor stores, so I am very excited for the plans. Sad the trees need to be cut down though. Very much looking forward to the final outcome.

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