PNC, not EP, has deed restriction

EAST PALESTINE – Whether the former PNC Bank building on North Market Street is sold to the village or someone else, it will not be used for another bank, Councilman Alan Cohen said.

He said residents have shown some concern over the village’s plans to use the building as its new administrative offices. They believe it could prevent another bank from buying the building.

“PNC has made it clear from the outset that they will not sell this property to any competitor, will never sell to any other bank. Further, as part of any sale, PNC will insist that a restrictive clause be placed in the deed specifically prohibiting the new owners from selling the property to any bank in the future, for a designated number of years,” he said.

A retired Ohio attorney, Cohen added the clause is “perfectly legal.”

The village only recently made it public they intended to buy the building, and a first reading of legislation allowing the sale to proceed was approved by council last week.

The building not far from the current administrative offices is being offered for $155,000. The drive-through is not included.

On Thursday PNC spokesman Fred Solomon out of the Pittsburgh office confirmed the bank requires the clause in “many cases.”

Due to the pending status of the local sale he could not speak specifically for East Palestine, but added it is standard practice for the company to require its former buildings not be used as other banks.

“In some cases the building that we are departing has been specially designed for PNC and has elements that are strongly associated with our company,” he explained.

Should the sale go through and the village makes changes to the building, the requirement could still be enforced, he implied.

“I cannot confirm for this particular building, but we have enforced our agreements” in other cases, he said.

The village is looking to buy the building because the current administrative offices on North Market are too small, Village Manager Pete Monteleone has said.

PNC closed the local branch earlier this year citing an increase in online banking as a cause. All local accounts were moved to the Columbiana branch.