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No time for bank to exit Uphams Corner

The decision by Bank of America executives to shut down their branch at 555 Columbia Rd. in Uphams Corner next year is puzzling. The bank has a satellite branch at South Bay Mall – about a half-mile away, but it is smaller and less convenient for many people who bank at the Uphams site.

The question that Bank of America officials should explain is why Uphams Corner? And why now?
Of all sections of Dorchester, the business district in Uphams Corner is one that seems poised to really blossom in the coming years. The state’s investment in the nearby Fairmount Line is just now beginning to trigger redevelopment of several key parcels within walking distance of the Columbia Road branch.
The city of Boston will be putting out a request for proposals soon to redevelop the Maxwell property on East Cottage Street, a lynchpin site that planners expect will bring a fresh mix of residential and retail to the area. The old St. Kevin’s campus will soon be redeveloped into housing. The Strand Theatre is popping once again with a busy schedule of high-caliber productions well into the new year.

Bank of America has its detractors in our community, mainly due to their often- callous handling of homeowners who defaulted on mortgages. But there’s a reason why many merchants and activists are already mobilizing to try to keep the branch open in Uphams Corner. The loss of the bank on a key corner is a tough deal for a district that is on the rise. Bank of America’s local leadership should think twice about uprooting itself at this juncture from a promising corner of our neighborhood at this juncture.