SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 5, 2012

Bank sells Beverly buildings but plans to stay

BY PAUL LEIGHTON STAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — BEVERLY — People’s United Bank has sold its building at 240 Cabot St. but says it will remain at the location that has anchored the downtown for nearly a century.

The Connecticut-based bank sold the building to Goldberg Properties of Beverly on Oct. 15 for $1.4 million, as well as the adjacent building at 246 Cabot St., also for $1.4 million.

A spokeswoman for People’s United said the bank has signed a long-term lease to stay at 240 Cabot and is not planning to close the branch.

“We remain committed to our customers in Beverly and our surrounding towns,” Valerie Carlson said.

A bank has been at 240 Cabot St. in the heart of the downtown since 1925, when Beverly National Bank, which was founded in 1802, moved to the site.

The building was destroyed by fire in 1954, and the current two-story brick building was constructed in 1955. Beverly National expanded to the adjoining building at 246 Cabot in 1984.

People’s United inherited the buildings when it bought Danversbank in June 2011.

Danversbank bought out Beverly National in 2009.

Mayor Bill Scanlon said People’s United did not need the extra space at 246 Cabot St. because its “back-office operations” are in Connecticut, where the bank is headquartered.

“Beverly National did everything on the site and used quite a bit of both buildings,” he said. “Danversbank used less of it, and People’s United used even less.”

Neither the bank nor Goldberg Properties would disclose the length of the lease. Andrew Goldberg of Goldberg Properties said the bank will be at the location “for the foreseeable future.”

Scanlon said he is not worried about the bank leaving Beverly.

“I’m sure that People’s is doing what it can to hold onto business in Beverly,” he said. “It’s been a bit of a struggle for them because the (Beverly) Cooperative Bank is right here, Rockport National is here, Salem Five has brought branches to Beverly. There’s been competition.”

People’s United was using 246 Cabot to house its wealth management group but recently moved that operation to the second floor of 240 Cabot, Goldberg said.

The only tenants of 246 Cabot now are Beverly Main Streets and North Shore United Way. Goldberg said the company is looking for tenants for the rest of the building.

“We think it’s a prominent building in downtown Beverly, and with us being based in Beverly, we thought it was a good opportunity for us,” Goldberg said. “It’s in great condition, and there’s off-street parking with two municipal parking lots next door.”

Scanlon said he views the sale of the buildings as a positive for the city because Goldberg Properties will work hard to lease the space in what had been an underused building at 246 Cabot.

“I think this is going to be a centerpiece in their real estate portfolio,” Scanlon said. “They’re two of the finest buildings in the downtown.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.