Children’s Urgent Care of Towson opened this month at at East Joppa Road and Loch Raven Boulevard. The urgent care facility replaces a former 1st Mariner Bank branch. Photo courtesy of Baltimore County Councilman David Marks/Facebook.

A former 1st Mariner Bank branch on Joppa Road has reopened as an urgent care center for children, providing a welcome improvement for an area where other businesses have closed in recent years.

Children’s Urgent Care of Towson is the name of the business that opened this month at East Joppa Road and Loch Raven Boulevard, the same intersection where Starbucks closed last year after tearing down the Bel-Loc Diner three years before.

This is the third location for the pediatric specialist, which treats patients under 18 who might otherwise go to a hospital emergency room. Its other locations are in Bel Air and Westminster.

Another group had wanted to demolish the former bank and open an oil change business on the corner, but Baltimore County Council member David Marks thought the area needed something different. This week he visited the urgent care center to see how it turned out after months of construction and to call attention to its opening.

“During the 2020 rezoning process, I blocked an oil change company from building at the former First Mariner bank location,” he said in a message posted on Facebook yesterday.

“I simply thought there were too many businesses of this type at an intersection that really needs a facelift. The owner pursued other options, and today I joined local business leader Jordan Levine at the newly-opened Children’s Urgent Care at this intersection. It’s a perfect use!”

A former 1st Mariner Bank branch on Joppa Road has reopened Children’s Urgent Care of Towson. Image via Google Maps.

Howard Bank, which acquired 1st Mariner in 2018 and this year was absorbed by FNB Corp., the parent of First National Bank, was the last occupant before Children’s Urgent Care. Other businesses that have closed near the intersection include Ukazoo Books, branches of Hooters and Pizza Hut and, after six decades, Baynesville Electronics.

Starbucks closed its branch at 1700 E. Joppa Road last November, after less than four years of operation there. The company initially posted a sign indicating the shutdown would be temporary. In March, representatives said the location wouldn’t reopen, even though the company had sparked controversy and gone to some lengths to raze the vintage 1964 diner previously on the site.

Children’s Urgent Care of Towson is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at 1641 E. Joppa Road. According to its website, its services include treatment of minor illnesses and injuries; physical exams; diagnostic X-rays; lab work; vaccinations and immunizations.

Marks, who has created a task force with business leaders and others to revitalize the area and bring in new businesses, expressed optimism after seeing how the vacant bank was transformed.

“The closure of Starbucks was a psychological and economic loss here, but that spot is now up for sale,” he said in his statement. “Investors are eyeing redevelopment opportunities to the west, and the county has resurfaced much of Joppa Road. I’m hopeful progress will continue.”

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.