The Rise of Conversions: Bank Spaces Becoming Retail and Restaurant Locations

The landscape of urban environments is continuously evolving, reflecting shifts in societal trends, economic factors, and technological advancements. One of the most notable changes in recent years has been the conversion of bank spaces within office buildings into retail and restaurant locations. This transformation is emblematic of broader trends in both the banking industry and commercial real estate.


The Decline of Traditional Banking Spaces

Over the past decade, the way people interact with banks has undergone a significant transformation. The rise of digital banking has led to a decreased need for physical bank branches. Customers now handle most of their banking needs online, from transferring funds to applying for loans, which has diminished the foot traffic to brick-and-mortar branches. This trend has resulted in many banks downsizing their physical presence or closing branches altogether.


The Shift in Commercial Real Estate

Simultaneously, the commercial real estate market has been adapting to new consumer preferences. The demand for unique and experiential retail and dining experiences has been on the rise. Consumers are increasingly seeking out destinations that offer more than just products or services—they want experiences. This demand has opened up opportunities for creative reuse of spaces that were once dedicated to more traditional uses, such as bank branches.


The Conversion of Bank Spaces

A notable example of this trend can be seen in the recent conversion of a bank space within an office building in New York City. The former bank, located on the ground floor of a high-rise office building, has been transformed into a vibrant restaurant that combines dining with a unique historical ambiance. The space retains some of its original architectural features, such as the high ceilings and grand vault door, creating a distinctive atmosphere that draws patrons seeking both culinary and historical experiences.

Penn-Florida has recently had a transition in its tenant mix from a bank at its 101 Renaissance Centre building in downtown Boca Raton. Recognizing this trend, the company has begun actively marketing the space to various retail and restaurant operators that may capitalize on its premier location and accessibility.  To view the collateral specific to the operator type, kindly follow these links:

RETAIL                                     RESTAURANT

These cases are part of a broader trend where developers and business owners see potential in the robust infrastructure and prime locations of former bank spaces. The sturdy construction, often with expansive open areas, high ceilings, and prominent street-level visibility, makes these locations ideal for conversion into retail stores, cafes, and restaurants.


Benefits of Converting Bank Spaces

  • Prime Locations: Bank branches are typically situated in prime locations with high foot traffic, making them ideal for retail and restaurant conversions.


  • Architectural Appeal: Many bank buildings possess unique architectural features that can be preserved and highlighted to create a distinctive ambiance.


  • Robust Infrastructure: The solid construction and spacious interiors of bank buildings provide a strong foundation for various types of businesses.


  • Economic Revitalization: Converting vacant bank spaces into thriving businesses can contribute to the economic revitalization of urban areas, attracting more visitors and increasing local revenue.

The conversion of bank spaces into retail and restaurant locations is a growing trend that reflects broader changes in both the banking industry and consumer preferences. As digital banking reduces the need for physical branches, and as consumers seek out unique and experiential destinations, the repurposing of these spaces offers an innovative solution. These conversions not only breathe new life into vacant spaces but also contribute to the dynamism and economic vitality of urban areas. As we continue to witness these transformations, it will be interesting to see how businesses and developers creatively adapt to these evolving trends.



“Why banks are turning branches into restaurants and stores” – Crain’s New York Business

“The Evolution of Retail Real Estate” – Urban Land Institute

“Bank Branch Closures and the Digital Transformation” – American Banker

Related Posts
Skip to content