It finally appears that within the next eight to 12 weeks, a new Bridgehampton National Bank branch will open its doors in the Boltax building on North Ferry Road.
Demolition work has begun at the site and internal renovations will get under way shortly, according to Claudia Pilato, bank vice president and director of marketing.
The space had been occupied by building owner Karen Boltax for her art gallery. She has moved the gallery to smaller space in the building. The building houses two residential apartments on the second floor and has two other retail spaces on the ground floor in addition to the bank and Boltax Gallery.
“I think at this point it will go fast,” Ms. Boltax said about the renovations. Barring stormy weather, she said there’s no reason to assume there would be delay in meeting the bank’s target for opening the branch.
It has been almost a year since BNB officials began discussing their efforts to locate a branch on Shelter Island that would make them the third major back here, joining Chase and Capital One.
In March bank representatives met with Island clients to announce their intentions of locating a branch here. They had examined the building owned by Ms. Boltax and found there was about 1,200 square feet of space for a long-term lease, according to executive vice president James Manseau, BNB’s chief retail banking officer.
But they had work to do getting approval from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Controller of Currency which has to sign off on new bank branches. And there was work to do getting the necessary building permits from Shelter Island town.
“These things take time,” Ms. Pilato said.
Ms. Pilato is also speaking with Shelter Island Historical Society executive director Nanette Lawrenson about refurbishing a sign in front of the Boltax building identifying it as the site of the Island’s first school, destroyed by fire in 1828, and the site of the Old Town Hall.
Bank officials said they don’t want to do anything with the sign without input from the Historical Society.
There have been adjustments to parking plans to accommodate neighbors’ concerns. Lighting at the site will stay the same as it is, using only town street lights to illuminate the parking lot. To avoid a New York State law requiring additional lighting for an outdoor ATM machine, the machine will be in the bank vestibule, which will be lit.
The bank’s sign will join those already on a pole on the property and won’t block vision of drivers coming off Duvall Avenue, in line with a request from the highway department.