Property Futures

Real Estate News, Reviews and Investment

Commercial Property: Banks

While historically banks have tended to be grandiose stone structures, this is less often the case nowadays and many banks operate out of standard commercial units or office buildings.

This article focuses on banks as commercial property. Find out more about what banks do and the role of banks as lenders.

Commercial Property- Banks

Commercial Property- Banks

Commercial or retail banks will still usually have a branch on a local retail street where customers can deposit money in a their accounts or talk to staff in person, but most have opened up online banking and telephone banking options for their customers. Some banks, indeed, have no branches at all but deal with their customers entirely by phone or online.

Buildings used as banks today

As more and more transactions have become electronic, the elaborate systems of stone vaults and iron grills seen in older banks have become redundant and many high street banks now operate out of ordinary shop fronts in malls and shopping centres.

However, banks will still have specialized needs due to the nature of their business. These may include:

  • • Secure vehicle access
  • • Increased security such as additional alarm systems and guards
  • • Building work to install a cash machine or ATM
  • • Building work to install a safe or vault

As banks handle large volumes of cash for their customers, security concerns will always be paramount.

Buildings built as banks

Many large banks built in the 19th and early 20th centuries were designed to be both impressive and secure. They are usually well-placed in a town centre and may dominate the local retail street. Possible features may include:

  • • Thick brick or stone walls
  • • High ceilings
  • • Period detail such as marble in the main lobby area
  • • Fittings and features still in place, such as built-in counters
  • • Original or modern vault or safe

Repurposing bank buildings for commercial real estate investment

  • The shift and mergers between banks has meant that many established banks are closing less profitable or duplicate branches providing opportunities for real estate investors.
  • Many former bank buildings around the world have been successfully repurposed for other commercial real estate endeavours in part because their history and design adds value and charm to a new development within the existing structure.
  • Banks are usually built to last, which means that they may be particularly valued by the local council or community and may be subject to a preservation order.
  • The very strength of the structure can cause problems for new development – digging out a vault, for example, can be as tricky as breaking in.

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