old banana republic

We got three emails this weekend about the same storefront on the Northeast corner of 86th street and Broadway. That large space, which used to house Banana Republic, has been empty for months since Banana moved across the street to the former home of the Gap.

Work has been going on at the site for a few weeks now, but it wasn’t clear from the permits what was going in. On Sunday, however, construction workers told multiple people that the space is gong to become a Chase bank.

We haven’t measured the size of the storefront, but it looks like its close to running afoul of Borough President Gale Brewer’s law limiting the size of banks on Broadway to 25 feet. Maybe the space is going to be subdivided, or there’s a loophole in the law? We’ll check with Gale’f office.

NEWS | 61 comments | permalink
    1. BILL says:

      up until the late 90’s I always remembered a bank on that corner,in fact my very first savings account I opened there when I worked at chock full o nuts )NY bank for savings)

    2. Jon says:

      Chase locations already exist on 96th and Broadway, 90th and Broadway, 86th and Columbus, and 79th and Broadway, not to mention ATM locations at the Duane Reade every other block. Is another location really necessary? And in violation of the recent rezoning laws, at that…

    3. rumor says:

      chase signing is an untrue rumor

    4. Sharona says:

      UGH. Make it stop already with the banks! I’d settle for a Olive Garden or something equally tasteless at this point!

    5. Lisa says:

      What a shocker!! Another bank.

    6. Carol Feldman says:

      A huge bank on every corner of our neighborhood is just destroying it. In the evenings it is dark and no one is on the street because the banks take all the room from any interesting shops, cafes or restaurants.

      • Stop! We do not have a bank or drug store at every corner! Yes, some blocks or neighborhoods have more than others. The opposite is also true, some neighborhoods have none.

    7. Tom D says:

      The banks are the only ones that can afford the rents. Or as someone else suggested, maybe an Olive Garden or Red Lobster type place.

    8. shari says:

      ugh! what we DON’T need is another bank. We need a furniture store, another clothing store (there was a rumor at one point that JCrew was going to go there), hell.. anything BUT another bank. Awful decision. Big UWS fail.

      • webot says:

        Unfortunately, I hear that many retailers (chains and locals) are balking at the new rules on the UWS for retail. Yet another layer of government bureaucracy.
        I do not know if that is the case here, but high rents are just one factor is small business not opening and thriving on the UWS in particular.

        Note: this is not a invitation for Bruce to attack me sand call me a names like Republican.

      • The current zoning ordinances for the UWS do not allow for more business space to be created. The regulations are archaic and do not reflect today’s business and residential needs. The UWS needs more small retail and business office space. The recent zoning changes only set limits in order to protect private interest groups. This keeps rents and property values high and prevents competition and excludes many deserving groups.

    9. Jason says:

      I don’t understand the aversion to banks. If people we’re going to visit them, or put their money there, they wouldn’t open shop. They are clearly providing a service that people want and need.

      • Kate says:

        Everyone uses online banking and mobile banking. Who ever actually goes to brick-and-mortar banks anymore? Your argument is invalid. The banks aren’t fulfilling a need – they are sprouting up simply because they have the means to.

        • Mike says:

          Yeah, banks love to just burn money. The idea that they fill retail spaces just because they can afford it is insane.

    10. se says:

      Ooh, how exciting! Another dead storefront on evenings and weekends!

    11. Deb says:

      I asked the workers yesterday and they said it was going to be a Chase Bank – just what the neighborhood needs – ANOTHER BANK! Ridiculous!

    12. mlm says:

      Just what we need – 6 banks currently on Broadway between 86th and 90th Streets!!!!

    13. Ralph Shapiro says:

      It makes me sick. Is there that much money on the UWS that we need yet another bank to hold it all? Are there that many sick people on the UWS that we need another pharmacy? Adios neighborhood. Welcome to New Jersey!!!

    14. Ed says:

      As you know, we don’t get to vote for the type of business that opens up. But I personally would be happier with a bank than a lousy chain restaurant on that corner.

    15. Tom says:

      Maybe now at least that hideous overhead shed will come down from around that beautiful building.

      • moi says:

        You wanna bet!! There”s scaffolding on every block on the UWS. And the City just sits back and does nothing.

        • Kenneth says:

          The sidewalk shed is there (and at many other locations throughout the City) to comply with NYC laws that require their presence when facade work needs to be performed or is being undertaken above. It protects pedistrians from falling objects. (See NYC Local 11 for example). It has nothing to do with the rental. The sheds can be there for years while work is planned and executed. They are expensive to erect and remove. It is inexpensive to leave them in place.

      • Julie says:

        The shed is there for building restoration, not because of the corner storefront. I live in this building and will be very sad if the bank rumor is true. High rents are ruining our neighborhood. We’ve already lost the Popover!

    16. webot says:

      I am curious, Is anyone bemoaning the loss of Banana Republic? It is after all a major chain store, owned by The GAP, Inc.

      Was it better the the proverbial bank or big pharmacy?

      • Mike says:

        Exactly. I don’t know what people think should go into that large retail space. The PC Richard next door is such a happening spot on nights and weekends, maybe they should have expanded.

      • Kenneth says:

        They do not.
        Why? Because it moved across the street.

    17. Brian says:

      We walked by yesterday and were excited to see some movement there, they were framing windows, etc. This is a big letdown.

    18. wendy says:

      There is already a large chase bank on 90th Street and Broadway – it doesn’t make sense….and what happened to the law limiting bank storefronts?

      Why don’t they just make the Upper West side permanently zoned only for banks and drugstores. That should solve the pesky problem of any other business wanting to open on Broadway and make a go of it.

      • Mike says:

        That unit was vacant for a while. Right or wrong, those scrappy up and comers were priced out of that space. What sort of mom and pop place would make a go of it in that huge space?

    19. Christina says:

      Between 67th Street and 86th Street on the Upper West Side, there are 7 Chase banks and numerous other banks, some of which I’ve never heard of. We Certainly Don’t Need Another Bank… and you can bank on that! 🙂

      • Jason says:

        So to be clear, you oppose a service that the upper west side needs in such quantity, that Chase is making the economic decision to open another. Obviously Chase would not open unless it would be economically beneficial to them, which means, that people will patronize the bank and use its services, which means, that people want a bank there. Would you rather a less successful business take its place? What world is this?

        • Christina says:

          Ah no Jason. The 7 or so Chase banks among the numerous other banks around the upper west side can clearly accommodate people who are up here. Besides I’ve been to numerous banks that are never crowded with people or long lines. Just to Be Clear!!!

          • Jason says:

            Who are we to tell residents, or Chase for that matter, that the other banks are sufficient? Isn’t that a business decision for Chase to make? If Chase thought it was sufficient, and thought that another bank wouldn’t add to their economic success, they wouldn’t open there. Who are we to tell residents to use the others? Shouldn’t they use what’s most convenient for them? Still a free country no??

        • Christina says:

          Jason…Also to be clear… it’s not the people who want the banks it’s the landlords! Probably the only ones who can afford the exorbitant rents.

          • webot says:

            I do not love the bank overload either – I thought with the internet, brick and mortar banks would go the way of record stores or at least be limited.

            But, really who else was going in there….take restaurants for example: Since it was not an existing restaurant, it would not be grandfathered in and therefore would have to up the new overreaching code, such as sprinkler for the whole building, not just the restaurant, ADA bathrooms, plus getting a liquor license, where there will be “community activists” fighting too limit them to midnight, no outdoor cafe, plus the 14 other city agencies that could derail the plans. etc. etc. Just too risky for most restuarantors,

    20. Christina says:

      I remember the original Banana Republic stores when they were cool safari themed. I know they probably did the right thing by changing it for financial reasons but boy it was so much more cooler than today. So were the catalogues! I know I’m veering off subject but someone mentioned Banana Republic and it reminded me of the store years ago on the Upper West Side.

    21. dcortex says:

      What happened to the law limiting the size of Bank Storefronts?

      • I was enacted with many loopholes. Broadway as well is parts of Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues are exempt of any kinds of business storefront limitations.

    22. WhatsUpDuck says:

      The Belnord, as reported in the NYT for some time, is in a state of disrepair. A beautiful building, but one overrun by rats, with leaks, etc. (How many years has scaffolding surrounded that building?)

      The owners probably wanted a tenant that could help them pay their repair bills, didn’t want to run any risks associated with an eatery, etc.

      Either way, a huge disappointment.

    23. There is no such thing as too many banks, drug stores or public facilities. Community action groups of the UWS and their favorite elected officials have created more harm by taking on causes that are insignificant and of low priority.

      Limiting one type of business or group, only creates an imbalance somewhere else. Run like hell when a community action committee or group wants to stop normal business dealings on the UWS. Think about the unintended consequences of any action, zoning ordinance or legislation.

    24. Edward says:

      It is ironic that banks seem to want us to do as much of our banking online by incentivizing direct deposits, online transfers, online billpay, etc. yet they feel the need to open bricks and mortar stores every other block. And I’m sure some over-priced McKinsey or BCG consultant was paid a fortune to figure this out for them.

    25. RF says:

      Other than stopping by the ATM, how many people actually still visit brick-and-mortar banks? Is it really enough to justify yet another Chase location when there are several others within walking distance? As far as I can recall, I’ve been inside a bank exactly twice in the past year–once to have something notarized, and the other because I needed cash and the ATM was out of service. On both occasions the banks were empty except for the people who worked there.

      • There are many functions that need to be done in person and cannot or should not be done using an ATM. Not all customers have direct deposit or even a bank account to cash a pay check. In the beginning of the month, banks are the most crowded. Money orders, bank checks, and coins are one of the many services required by customers.

        Many bank customers on the UWS would scream bloody murder if they had to take a bus or train to visit a branch. Banks compete for retail space, because they have to. The average number of people served by each bank on the UWS is in the thousands.

        Banks are critical for business and residents. They are a gauge of economic health of the community. Many of the less wealthy parts of NYC have very few banks.

      • Jeff says:

        It’s about presence. Banks are mostly the same, and so they distinguish themselves by location – there’s tons of money on the UWS, and if people have to walk a few extra blocks to get to Chase, it is ceding many millions worth of deposits. Also, the big footprint conveys power, stability, etc.

    26. moi says:

      Another bank to undermine the beauty and character of the neighborhood. How lovely.

      • Cato says:

        Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there is a Citibank directly across 86th Street from this site. Then, one short block south, a Wells Fargo ATM site on 85th and Broadway.

        Perhaps Avi could run a poll — How many readers have done a transaction with a bank *teller* (not an ATM) in the past month or week? It would be interesting to see why banks think it economical to stake outposts on every corner.

    27. NikFromNYC says:

      Ha ha ha, after red tape killed Alamo theatre, your comeuppance arrives. After outlawing dancing on the UWS, and shutting down our only tube dress source of spunky ladies that was on 105th, you white guilt wives of bankers get a nightmarish mall of *banks* as your deserved award. You are what you eat, gold diggers.

    28. Chris says:

      This is all pretty simple. It is very difficult for ordinary retail tenants to afford the rents on the UWS, and the zoning rules do nothing but discourage people from locating here. Why would you – who knows what kind of regs local government will come up with next. So we are left with banks and drug stores.

      Honestly I would prefer a well-lit bank walking home from dinner than another boarded up storefront, like the ones that plague Amsterdam and Broadway.

      • webot says:

        Agree with Chris.

        I would like to see someone in the City council address these issues that impede business growth, which benefits the City as a whole.
        Honestly, I have NEVER heard a City Council member is general or UWS rep in particular ever actually say anything about promoting business – its as if the idea of being pro business would be political suicide.
        Instead of more rules, laws and regulations ( wage increases, sick pay, letter grades, more zoning – all just this year) How about a welcome matt to encourage the very risky idea of opening and/or expanding a business in New York – cutting red tape, eliminating redundant or conflicting requirements (even closing whole agencies) , an omnibudsman to guide a business through all the permitting, prosecution of unions and mafia shack downs, I can go on and on..

        City council being pro business is good for the all – providing revenue, jobs, street life, opportunity. It does not negate your liberal credibility.

      • Brian says:

        No banks are lit up after business hours with the exception of the ATM portion.

        • AMC says:

          That’s exactly the impact to the neighborhood vibe. When you walk around the nabe in the evening, it does not feel alive with people eating and socializing, or even walking out of a cute boutique after shopping in the early evening. The banks close and leave vast space eerily void in the evening. It may as well be a creepy Gristedes with plastic bags blowing out front.

          • The residents of the neighborhood are the reason no one is on the street. The UWS is gaining more families that do not socialize in the evening or at night. Even the few 24/7 stores such as Rite Aide, West Side Market and Gristedes do not get much traffic at night. There are no all night movie theaters and few clubs, Lincoln Center has no late show. Night life is also controlled by regulations and citizen noise complaints to police and community board. There just isn’t that much happening after 11PM on the UWS to keep businesses open.

        • Kenneth says:

          Maybe you could get TD Bank at Bway/88 to get back the big illuminated green sign the neighborhood pushed them to remove.

    29. pjrod says:

      Banks are fine. They beat the heck out of big empty storefronts. I’d kill for a nice new bank where the Rite Aid used to be on 96th and Broadway

      • Christina says:

        There’s a nice TD bank on 94th and Bway and a nice HBNC at 96th st. and amsterdam.and a nice Chase bank on 96th St. and another nice Citibank too. Enough with the banks! They are not so nice since overload!