NJ Downtowns Are Breathing New Life Into Empty Old Banks

Downtown banks used to be where eager home buyers applied for mortgages, workers cashed hard-earned paychecks, and youngsters watched nickels and dimes grow in their first savings accounts. But in recent decades, ATM machines and online banking have made these once essential institutions obsolete.

Fortunately, developers and businesses across New Jersey have repurposed dozens of downtown banks as office spaces, restaurants and, in at least one case, a vape shop.

For developer Bob Silver, rescuing old banks has become a personal crusade. “I love everything about history, preserving history and rescuing buildings for different purposes,” says Silver. “I’m very environmentally sensitive, and the greenest thing you can do is keep a building in place and repurpose it.”

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