Uncertain fate for bank building

Lauren Dezenski, Reporter Staff
Jun. 26, 2014

Bank of America pulled its Columbia Road branch location off the auction block a day before the building was to be sold last month, but it is keeping mum about the fate of the nearly century-old building. The branch building, at 555 Columbia Rd., just steps from the historic Strand Theatre, was initially listed online for sale “regardless of price to the highest bidder.” The auction was scheduled for Fri., May 16.

Bank of America spokesman TJ Crawford declined to talk about the building’s future or specifics of the halted sale, but confirmed that the company still owned the building and had no plans to re-open a branch at the site. In the meantime, the location will remain vacant until the North Carolina-based company determines its next move. Bank of America shuttered the branch on March 21 because of declining transactions, Crawford said in an email.

“As an organization we would like to see an activated storefront in such a key part of our downtown location,” said Justin Almeida, interim director of Uphams Corner Main Streets.

Despite the building’s age (it was erected in 1917), the city’s Landmarks Commission had no involvement with stopping the sale, according to the mayoral spokeswoman Kate Norton. The Boston Redevelopment Authority and Department of Neighborhood Development didn’t play a role, either, she said.

According to the city assessor database, the location’s assessed value is more than over $1 million. The bank has four other locations in Dorchester.