Park Slope Neighbors and Commerce Bank Work Together
to Produce Outstanding Results for Park Slope
March 2, 2005 PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN Park Slope Neighbors' effective organizing and Commerce Bank's focus on serving the local community has resulted in a unique new bank building slated to open later this year on Park Slope's burgeoning Fifth Avenue between First and Garfield Streets. A full-color rendering of the new bank building will be unveiled at the Commerce Bank in Brooklyn Heights (Montague & Court Sts.) on Thursday, March 3, at 9:30 a.m. in the presence of local elected officials and community leaders.
"Commerce Bank's executives deserve high praise for the way that they listened and worked with residents in our community," says Park Slope Neighbors campaign coordinator Aaron Naparstek. "The new bank is a welcome addition to Fifth Avenue and, personally, I can't wait to use the free coin-counting machine."
Local residents and merchants voiced their concerns about the bank's original drive-thru design and its impact on their neighborhood. Though zoning laws permitted Commerce Bank to proceed with its plan, the bank sat down with neighborhood groups, listened to concerns, and went back to the drawing board and adjusted their plans to create a new building for Park Slope.
"I'm delighted with the process that led to Commerce Bank's new plan for its Park Slope branch, which illustrates how community input can help lead to development that is appropriate to a neighborhood," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Commerce Bank, the First Street Block Association, and Park Slope Neighbors are all to be commended on their outstanding collaboration."
"We look forward to providing Park Slope's residents and merchants with the most convenient banking services in New York City," says Greg Braca, Senior Vice President for Commerce in New York City. "The neighborhood is fortunate to have such an effective advocate in Park Slope Neighbors. They have shown how much a community group can get done by approaching issues in an organized, articulate and cooperative way. Also, we appreciate the continuing support and involvement of Assemblywoman Joan Millman, City Councilman Bill de Blasio, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Congressman Major Owens."
Residents who have had a sneak peak at the bank's new design say that the red brick building nicely fits the historic character and context of Park Slope. With a grand entrance at the corner of Fifth Avenue and First Street and tall windows along the sidewalk, the new design has a welcoming feel to it and is in many ways a throwback to bank buildings of old. In addition to the free coin-counting machine, other amenities include parking space for both cars and bikes and a water spigot for neighborhood dogs.
About Park Slope Neighbors
The Park SlopeNeighbors organization is committed to the protection and enhancement of quality of life in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It is the mission of Park Slope Neighbors to encourage sustainable development, sensible transportation, locally owned business, public safety, respect for diversity, and responsible stewardship of one of Brooklyn's most historic neighborhoods.
About Commerce Bank
Commerce Bank, "America's Most Convenient Bank®," is a leading retailer of financial services with more than 320 convenient stores in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Largely due to its focus on customer service, no-fee products and locations that are open seven days a week with extended hours, Commerce Bank has been well-received in Brooklyn since its debut here in 2003. In 2005, the bank plans to open 55-plus new locations and create 1,800 new career opportunities throughout its markets. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., Commerce Bancorp (NYSE: CBH) has more than $30 billion in assets and, in 2004, achieved a deposit increase of 34% and earnings per share growth of 26%. For more information about Commerce, please visit the company's interactive financial resource center at commerceonline.com