Citigroup has seen enough of Massachusetts for its retail banking business, and is pulling out in January to focus on other regions of the country, according to a Boston Globe report. That would seem to indicate that Wellesley Square will soon need to find a new taker for Citibank’s sweet spot at 84 Central St., in between Wellesley Books and Florijn.
Perhaps the greatest impact of Citi’s departure will be on the customers of Citigroup’s 17 branches, which are primarily in the Boston area.
Citigroup burst into the Boston area nearly 10 years ago, hiring bank managers from local competitors, opening branches in prime locations, such as the Back Bay, Wellesley, and Cambridge, and inking a $34 million contract to put its name on the Wang Center for the Performing Arts. At its peak, Citigroup had more than 30 branches in the Boston area.
While Citibank in Wellesley has been a good corporate neighbor from what we can tell — they’ve sponsored various community event and even offered free gift wrapping — some aren’t sorry to hear about the bank’s pending departure. We’ve already received email from one Swellesley reader who urges property manager Linear Retail to seek “a retail tenant that is not a bank, not a real estate office and not a chain.”
Citi’s Central Plaza space in Wellesley Square previously was occupied by one such unique business: the Marco Polo gift shop, which closed in 2006.