Citizens sells state HQ to Illinois firm


Citizens Bank New Hampshire has sold its downtown headquarters and three other properties to Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. of Oak Brook, Ill.

875 Elm StThe headquarters, at 875 Elm St., housed the old Amoskeag Bank, a local landmark.

Inland American through its Inland American CFG Portfolio LLC acquired 875 Elm St., for $25,750,000; 1550 N. Elm St., Manchester, for $1,843,333; 835 Hanover St., Unit 101, Manchester, for $2,060,000 and 155/161 Bridge St. (Route 38 and Old Bridge Street), Pelham for $427,267, according to records on file with the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds. Real Estate Transfer Tax stamps show the records were filed June 27.

The bank’s lease terms run from five years at 835 Hanover St. and 1550 N. Elm St., to seven years at 875 Elm St. and 15 years in Pelham, all with options to extend the leases for four consecutive terms of five years each, according to Registry records.

The New Hampshire acquisitions were part of a $288.3 million cash deal under which the Inland American Real Estate Trust acquired 157 retail banking properties in 12 states from Maine to Michigan from Citizens Financial Group Inc. and subsidiaries, Charter One Bank and unaffiliated third parties.

Inland American Real Estate Trust said in a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission the properties contain 989,824 gross leasable square feet.

Most notable in New Hampshire is the 875 Elm St. building which housed the old Amoskeag Bank that was one of seven New Hampshire banks that collapsed during a recession in October 1991. First NH Bank in Manchester, owned by the Bank of Ireland, acquired subsidiaries of Amoskeag Bank Shares Inc. — Amoskeag Bank of Manchester; Nashua Trust Co. in Nashua; Bank Meridian in Hampton — and BankEast for $75 million.

Citizens acquired the building in March 1996 through its merger with First NH. Citizens Financial Group subsequently moved the bank’s headquarters out of the 20th floor of Hampshire Plaza to the former Amoskeag building at 875 Elm St.

With many larger properties owned by corporations and syndicates today, another change in ownership is not all that surprising, said Richard Duckoff, a local historian and Manchester neighborhood activist. He said the building at 875 Elm remains an important part of the cityscape.

By DENIS PAISTE – The Union Leader


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