Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

New Britain National Bank Building, New Britain

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This seven story building with extraordinary interiors was completed in 1927 for the Commercial Trust Company.  Designed in the Romanesque Revival style with occasional Gothic flourishes, it is constructed of limestone and red brick.  A row of three tall, round-arched windows gives bold definition to the facade, while a wealth of ornamental detail enriches the surfaces on both the interior and exterior.  Known locally as the Anvil Bank, an anvil motif is incorporated into the intricate brickwork throughout.  Images related to the currency of the period, such as the Mercury dime and the Buffalo nickel, appear on the bronze doors.  Elegant brass quatrefoils enhance the entry.  An elaborate, pointed-arch window appears above.Inside the bank lobby a soaring 30-foot-high ceiling creates a magnificent space.  Marble adorns the floors and walls.  Bronze further embellishes the interior and is used in chandeliers, wall sconces, and the ornate elevator doors.The Commercial Trust Company, like many others, succembed to the hardships of the Depression.  It was bought out by the New Britain National Bank in the 1930s.  More recently, the property has been mostly vacant since Fleet Bank moved out in 1996.Deferred maintenance has resulted in a leaking roof and a flooded sub-basement.  The heat has been off for three years, and the elements are beginning to take an extreme toll.  Despite these setbacks, the building is entirely solid.  The repair work needed is extensive, but manageable.  It would involve installing new mechanical systems, a new roof, and abatement of hazardous materials.  A plan for egress from the upper floors would need to be worked out in order to comply with the building code.The former bank could be converted into restaurant space, nightclub or antiques marketplace.  The upper floors were historically used as offices, but could also become appealing upscale apartments or condominiums.  Downtown New Britain is experiencing many encouraging signs of economic revitalization and offers ample parking.  Size: 38, 500 total square feet; 32,000 square feet of office space.  Price: $450,000. Contact: Don Courtemanche, 860-229-0878.