Hey, you. Yeah, you. Go to the nearest window. Stick your head out. Look right or left or across the street. See a bank branch? No? Give it time. Bank branches are taking over corners and mid-block spots across the Hub, offering landlords higher rents than just about any other retailer and financial institutions marketing opportunities through signage. The list of recently planted shoots is a long one, according to The Globe's Todd Wallack:
Capital One Bank ousted a women’s clothing shop from its Back Bay space and is trying to force out a popular Beacon Hill convenience store. TD Bank is replacing a barbecue restaurant in Quincy, took over a bagel shop in Wayland, and could supplant an Irish bar near Faneuil Hall. In Wellesley, at least four banks have claimed empty storefronts. Few (we would hope) begrudge the landlords the higher rents. It's just that... well, how many places to deposit and withdraw and form fill does one neighborhood need in this Internet age? What about other needs? That convenience store space in Beacon Hill is the most oft-cited example of what bank branch birth control advocates say is wrong with the trend.
As many as 1,400 people signed a petition opposing Capital One’s plans to replace a convenience store on Charles Street, and nearly 200 packed a recent public meeting about the proposed opening. Some complain the bank branch would be dark at night and most of the weekend, sapping energy from the block and making the street feel less safe. Others say they rely on the market for groceries and other items.