GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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September 17, 2013

New life in old bank

Developer polishes off downtown landmark

The former Gloucester Safe Deposit & Trust Co. building on the corner of Main and Duncan Streets, once the financial guiding light for downtown Gloucester, is shining again.

An overhaul is nearly completed that is turn the old bank into space housing an art gallery, a jewelry store, two apartments on the second floor and a third-floor penthouse.

The building was previously owned by William Thibeault, who purchased the building in 2010 for a sum of $625,000. But in January of this year, Ken Hecht of Hecht Company Inc. bought the property for $850,000 and put its redevelopment on the fast track .

Construction crews were still busy Monday at the building at 189 Main St., where they have been for the past six months or so, while Hecht has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the building.

The building was first built as a bank in 1880 and measures 8,657 square feet altogether, according to assessing records. George and Joanne Laventis, who owned the building in the 1970s, also lived on the third floor of the structure, which once housed business offices.

“He’s kind of a guy who buys and sells, and we buy and develop,” Hecht said of Thibeault.

From thick vault doors vaults and old wooden paneling to nightly deposit boxes, traces from the old bank building are still present.

On the first floor lies the newly opened Trident Gallery, where director Matthew Swift houses 12 artists. What was once an old bank vault in the back of the gallery holds a handful of paintings and pictures on display.

Swift said he became familiar with the building during the remolding phase, parts of the original building are still securely exposed behind glass in the gallery; he was enthusiastic to learn about the history of the building, how long the trust lasted and how they operate.

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