Out with the old bank and in with the new bank

The southwest side of a former Mellon Bank branch in East Liberty, as presented to the City Planning Commission on May 18, 2021.

Commissioners approve plans for rebuilding Penn Avenue bank.

by Eric Jankiewicz, PublicSource

Pittsburgh’s City Planning Commission approved plans that date back to 2020 to demolish an East Liberty bank to make room for a new one.

The existing building was constructed in 1969 and 1970, originally housing a Mellon Bank Branch. For the last three years, the current owners, Citizens Bank, have sought approval to demolish the current building in favor of new construction. Tuesday, on the bank’s third application attempt, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the plans.

“We encountered significant hurdles including questions of historic designation,” said Mark Knipper, Citizens Bank’s executive vice president for property and procurement, referring to a Pittsburgh City Council vote in 2021 rejecting historic designation for the current bank building on 6112 Penn Avenue. The commission had recommended the designation.

“Over the years we made numerous changes including modernizing the design,” Knipper said.

An artist’s rendering of a planned new Citizens Bank branch set for the East Liberty site long occupied by a former Mellon Bank building, submitted to the City Planning Commission for a Feb. 21, 2023 meeting.

In the bank’s previous attempt, the commissioners rejected the plans in October over traffic concerns and curb cuts. The original application was rejected because the commissioners concluded the design did not fit the design of buildings in the area.

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