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TD Bank working on plans to open Beacon Hill branch

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  September 4, 2012 02:44 PM

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Just months after Beacon Hill residents rallied against a Capital One Bank branch from replacing a local market on Charles Street, a new bank is working to open a branch on the Hill.

TD Bank won approval from federal regulators last month to open a new branch at 250 Cambridge St., according to documents filed on-line by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

A spokeswomen for TD Bank also confirmed the bank is planning to open a location in Beacon Hill and is working with federal, state and local officials during the process.

For many who live on Beacon Hill, the prospect of another bank in the area raises concerns about the appeal of the neighborhood.

“When we think about the businesses here, we want them to be vibrant. As a visitor, you come to a location and you like to see what else is there. You don’t really come to visit a bank,” said MaryLee Halpin, executive director of the Beacon Hill Civic Association, on the concerns banks in general raise for communities.

Banks' limited hours mean they can create dark spaces at night, and the ability of national bank chains to pay higher rents can displace small businesses.

That was the case earlier this year when Capital One planned to replace the locally owned Charles Street Market until more than 1,300 people signed a petition opposing its plans and asking the city's Zoning Board of Appeals to deny a zoning variance.

A portion of the retail space fell in a residential zone, requiring the bank to obtain a variance for the space.

The bank nixed its plans for Charles Street at least temporarily and withdrew its request for a zoning variance from the city.

“It’s better to have businesses than vacancies, so if we can get a good neighbor obviously that’s what we would like,” said Halpin, who has not seen TD Bank’s plans and does not know if it will need a zoning variance.

“Our goal isn’t to go find reasons to say ‘no,’” she said.

Instead, the association would like to work with the bank as it moves forward to make sure it will be a good neighbor in the community.

“We think it is important for them to talk with the neighborhood. We hope they will enter in a conversation with us,” said Halpin.

Judith Rusk, a TD Bank spokeswoman, said the bank has been pleased with the acceptance its retail branches have received in Boston and plans to continue working with communities.

“TD Bank believes in partnering with the local community to make a real and positive difference in the neighborhoods we serve,” Rusk wrote in an e-mail.
Twitter: @YourBeaconHill

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