TD leads the bank expansion charge

By Michael Stoler | June 02, 2010 04:00PM

Duane Reade and Starbucks are under immense pressure for retail locations, as financial institutions quest to open new branches in the metropolitan region. Major money center, regional and even banks headquartered in Puerto Rico are scouting out locations in every borough as well as the suburbs.

With brand new condominiums and rental towers opening in Manhattan, the ground floor retail spaces are highly sought out. TD Bank, perhaps the most aggressive bank to open branches in the city, is in the process of construction at two condominiums — the Alexander, at 250 East 49th Street, and the Laurel, at 400 East 67th Street. A third branch is expected at Hines and RFR’s One Jackson Square, at 122 Greenwich Avenue at the corner of Eighth Avenue.

TD has not limited itself to residential buildings. As reported in April issue of The Real Deal, the bank will be opening branches at the office towers at 444 Madison Avenue and 224 West 58th Street.

Citibank, which has recently repaid a portion of its Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, plans to relocate its branch from First Avenue and 59th Street to the building owned by New York Cornell Weill Medical Center at 71st Street and First Avenue. Citibank will have to compete with Bank of America, which opened a branch at the opposite side of the tower, at 1330 First Avenue on East 72nd Street last year.

At the recently completed rental building, the Corner, 200 West 72nd Street at the southwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street, Bank of America will be joining Trader Joe’s. The bank also plans to open a branch at a residential tower at 16th Street and Eighth Avenue.

In the former branch location of Bank of New York, at 530 Fifth Avenue, JPMorgan Chase, signed a 15-year lease for 11,200 square feet of space. A few blocks away, PNC opened its first New York City branch at 340 Madison Avenue. The bank has signed a lease for its second location on Seventh Avenue across from Penn Station and is seeking locations near the Port Authority Bus Terminal as well as in Lower Manhattan.

In April, New Jersey’s Investors Savings Bank acquired the deposits and 17 branch offices of Millennium Bank in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. The bank had two locations in the Astoria section of Queens as well as a location on East Jericho Turnpike in Mineola, in Nassau County. The bank is actively providing financing for multi-family commercial real estate properties in Brooklyn, including in Borough Park and Midwood.

A few years ago, Puerto Rico-based Doral Bank sold its New York City branch locations to New York Community Bancorp. The bank has become an active lender in commercial real estate and this summer, intends to open a branch in the former location of Washington Mutual, on the ground floor at 875 Third Avenue.

Michael Stoler is a columnist for The Real Deal and host of real estate programs “The Stoler Report” and “Building New York” on CUNY TV and on WEGTV in East Hampton. His radio show, “The Michael Stoler Real Estate Report,” airs on 1010 WINS on Saturdays and Sundays. Stoler is a director at Madison Realty Capital as well as an adjunct professor at NYU Real Estate Institute, and a former contributing editor and columnist for the New York Sun.