Chase Bank buys Silverscape Designs building

  • The former Silverscape Designs building at 1 King St. in Northampton in October 2022. STAFF PHOTO/Carol Lollis

Staff Writer
Published: 10/10/2022 7:42:32 PM
Modified: 10/10/2022 7:42:22 PM

NORTHAMPTON — One of downtown’s most distinctive and prominent buildings, 1 King St., has a new owner and, next year, it will return to its roots as a bank.

DP Holdings LLC, the company that owned 1 King St., sold it to JPMorgan Chase Bank last month for $1.3 million, according to new filings with the Hampshire Registry of Deeds. The century-old former First National Bank of Northampton was transformed into the jewelry store Silverscape Designs in 1993.

On Monday, Chase spokesperson Justin Page said the plan is to continue the company’s expansion into western Massachusetts by opening a Chase bank branch in the space, sometime in the first half of 2023.

“We are excited to open our doors in Northampton next year,” Chase market director Ali Zaidi said in a statement. “We’re hiring locally and bringing all the tools and resources JPMorgan Chase has to offer to support our customers and the community.”

The roughly 8,000-square-foot, two-story building at the intersection with Main Street has sat empty for nearly two years since Silverscape Designs served its final customer on Jan. 16, 2021.

Now with a digital time-and-temperature display familiar to downtown visitors and drivers, the granite and limestone art deco building opened as a bank in 1928. Denis Perlman bought it nearly 30 years ago and converted it into a jewelry store while maintaining interior features like the skylight, chandeliers, teller windows and vault.

Perlman died in 2000, leaving his siblings and their children to run the business. One of his brothers, Wallace Perlman, was 77 years old when he announced that he would retire and, since no one else in the family wanted to take over, the store would close.

Reached by phone, Wallace Perlman said the building is “ideally suited to be a bank.” Perlman lives about 100 miles away from Northampton and “never moved any closer,” so running Silverscape Designs, he said, was a significant commitment.

“The whole family loves Northampton. They’ve been great to us, and hopefully we’ve been great to the community,” he said.

When the building listed for sale in 2019, the asking price was $2 million.

Chase plans to open its first Springfield branch next February, totaling about 3,000 square feet, and plans to add three more branches in the greater Springfield area over the next few years. The company said it has 36 branches in Massachusetts and wants to double that number by 2025.

Asked about the size difference between the Springfield branch and the much larger 1 King St., Page, the company spokesperson, said he would try to find out whether Chase has “any additional plans” for the location “given its unique size and history.”

According to the real estate listing, the second story has two units. 

“The first is a luxurious apartment with chef's kitchen, wood burning fireplace, laundry/changing room, and bathroom with large walk-in shower,” the listing, still available online, reads. “The second is an impressive office unit with original parquet floors, high ceilings, and its own entrance from Main St.”

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.
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