Bank is slated for Market House


The bank that incorporates "Annapolis" as part of its name is preparing to establish its first branch in the city limits, having reached a deal to occupy a part of the yet-to-be-reopened Market House near City Dock.

BankAnnapolis announced this week that it has agreed with Site Realty Group of Silver Spring, the lease owner of the 19th-century building, to be among Market House's new vendors.

Site Realty and city officials are completing a renovation that has cost more than $1 million, and the city remains hopeful that the 5,000-square-foot facility will reopen by the end of April. The venue along Randall Street has been vacant for more than a year, during which time a planned lease agreement with specialty grocer Dean & DeLuca fell through and became a political issue in last fall's campaign.

The city plans to announce a full list of vendors by the middle of this month, said Jan Hardesty, a city spokeswoman.

Hardesty said Market House will provide "a very nice mix" of food, flower and other convenience vendors that will accommodate "residents, visitors and downtown employees."

Richard D. Cohen, a vice president at Site Realty, did not return a call seeking comment. Emory C. Harrison, the city's director of central services, referred questions to Hardesty.

Richard M. Lerner, chairman and chief executive of BankAnnapolis, said he could not be more pleased about the location in the heart of the city's historic district. The bank already has an automated teller machine near City Dock.

"This is about as good as it gets as far as location, access, a high-trafficked area," he said.

BankAnnapolis, a community bank with six offices in Anne Arundel and Queen Anne's counties, plans to set up a branch at Market House that will resemble a bank at a grocery store, Lerner said. Preliminary plans call for two teller stations and a customer service desk, and the branch will provide a change machine for patrons looking to feed parking meters, a news release said.

"For years there, [people] said, 'Why don't we have an ATM?'" Hardesty said.

"How much better to have the convenience of a bank just right off the boat?"

Lerner said the branch will be secure because it will be in one of the few enclosed areas of the market.

"It's not much different from any in-store facility. ... Much of the vendors in the Market House will be in open-air stalls. [The branch] will be completely closed," Lerner said. "Only certain parts of the building can be completely enclosed. And we are in one of those spots."

The deal is pending regulatory approval from the state's commissioner of financial regulation.

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