Citizens Bank presented their petition at the September Neighborhood Council meeting for a conditional use permit for a bank and ATM at 198 Hanover Street, taking over the middle storefront of Charter Realty’s Cross Street building.

The council voted 4-1 in opposition to Citizens Bank.

Council members and meeting attendees had concerns about what the property will look like, who the other tenants will be, and Charter Realty’s intentions with the Cross Street plaza overall, following their recent strongly contested Starbucks proposal.

Watch the full presentation from the meeting and follow along with the timeline below.

(1:26) The council questions the design of the overall structure. Samantha Burgner, who presented on behalf of Citizens Bank, explains she is here to talk about the bank, not the whole Charter Realty building (which comprises three storefronts).

The renderings below were provided to show the design of the bank. There would be an ATM, bank with offices and a mezzanine (click to enlarge).

(4:24) Council President John Pregmon points out that Citizens Bank is also a chain, and although there is often relief for a bank as it’s considered an essential service, residents did reach out in opposition about this.

(4:46) Maria Lanza from the Mayor’s Office reminds attendees that there was an abutters meeting in June and no one had concerns about a Citizens Bank going into this location. There are issues with the design of the building, but the question here is whether or not a bank should occupy that space.

(6:12) The council asks about security at Citizens Bank. There would be 24-hour cameras. There would not be armored guards. Offices within the branch would have alert systems that notify back to security. The vestibule would have a Parabit reader separate from the branch entrance.

(8:00) The regional manager for Citizens Bank talks about police surveillance that travels to banks in the area to make sure there are no homeless people sleeping at the vestibules.

(8:36) George Jabour representing Angie Romano of Romano Florist raises questions about a lack of clarity from Charter Realty and his concerns about the mezzanine level.

(12:12) Samantha clarifies that this would be a relocation of the current Citizens Bank to the 198 Hanover St. property, freeing up a storefront for another business at their current location.

(14:16) The question of the new branch taking over more space is raised. The existing branch is actually larger than the new location, but the new location would have a larger storefront.

(15:44) The council questions whether they have enough information to vote on this item. President Pregmon decides they will vote specifically on if the Citizens Bank should occupy this space, reiterating that it’s on record that the council opposed the building design.

(19:00) Attendees question why Charter Realty was not present at the meeting. Samantha said a representative would be at the Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting this Thursday, September 13, when the proposal is presented to NEWRA.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. Both neighborhood groups opposed the design of the building and the city approved it. That is a HUGE concern to me, ie the city either doesn’t listen or doesn’t care about the resident’s wishes. I’d like to know how the City Councilor feels on that issue.

    • The city has laws it has to follow. It is a free country and the city can’t pick and choose (nor would I want them to) every single business that wants to come here.

      Citizens bank causes no community problems. No noise. No booze. No special zoning license like Starbucks would’ve needed. They do not take away from any locally owned businesses.

      The government literally has no grounds whatsoever to deny the bank. In fact, they probably don’t even have the power to do so. This is America not the Soviet Union.

  2. You are all nuts to continue to deny every business proposal to go into this space. We will be looking at an entire street of vacant storefronts ala Bread & Butter for decades.

  3. Don’t we already have Citizens bank on Hanover street? Why not invite businesses that will enhance Italian culture and heritage in the North End? After all this is “Little Italy”.

  4. If the neighborhood council is so against chain ATMs, maybe they should start looking to close down the multiple cash only businesses in the North End; that or get one of the many mom and pop, North End established credit unions out there to open up an ATM in this space.

    • I think the council simply wanted to know what the intent is of the design and what would go in the rest of the building before they voted, which is fair. The comment from the council president about Citizens being a chain was a bit weird.

      I think everyone should remember there was a package store at that “gateway” not too many years ago. I’d be fine with Citizens moving there.

  5. Ya know I hear a lot of people say things like, “why can’t we put a true value there? Why another bank or restaurant? It would be nice if it were a book store!”

    Everybody has an opportunity to put their business in this location. Hardware stores, book stores, museums all have the same opportunity. If they choose not then it is on them.

    I

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