64th Annual New Good Neighbor Awards

Restored Glory: The National

Grand bank buildings are signs of a bygone era, but they’re finding new life on Main Streets across New Jersey – including 17 Watchung Plaza in Montclair. This Colonial Revival-style structure that became The Montclair National Bank in 1926 and later a Chase Bank was sold in 2021 to The Bravitas Group, a real estate company known for repurposing architecturally interesting buildings.

With a construction staff of 72, The Bravitas Group transformed the 6,400-square-foot building – now called The National – into boutique office space and restored the façade by installing wood windows with trimmed panels echoing the original design. Other changes included replacing the modern entryway with double glass panel doors reminiscent of a prior era, restoration of the building’s old clock, and repair of original brick and stone elements of the façade. With sustainability in mind, the developer was able to add usable square footage to the interior by renovating unfinished space on the lower level and adding a mezzanine in the unfinished attic.

After construction was completed in February of 2023, The National became home to Montclair Speech Therapy (MST), a company with 28 full-time employees, with the main bank vault being repurposed into a children’s occupational therapy room. The building received the 2023 Bricks and Mortar Preservation Award presented by The Montclair Township Historic Preservation Commission and the 2024 Small Deal of Year Award by the Urban Land Institute of Northern New Jersey.


Sionas Architecture



Jack Finn and Company



Paul Sionas, architect, The Bravitas Group


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