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KeyBank starts renovations for East Side branch

KeyBank has started to convert part of a shuttered Rite Aid into a new full-service branch on the East Side.

Key is aiming to open the branch, at the intersection of East Delavan Avenue and Grider Street, by late May, said Gary Quenneville, Key's regional executive for upstate New York.

The lead contractor is RP Oak Hill, which has handled a number of branch-related projects for Key.

"They have a very strong record of delivering our branches on time," Quenneville said. Four local subcontractors that are minority or women-owned are involved in the work.

The bank has conducted community outreach to create awareness about the branch and has received positive feedback, said Kawanza Humphrey, Key's regional corporate responsibility officer.

Kawanza Humphrey, regional corporate responsibility officer for KeyBank. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

"It's a wonderful addition for a neighborhood to have the opportunity to bring in anchor institution," she said. "So we're pleased to have this opportunity to have this brand and our team become part of this community."

Even before the branch has opened, community organizations in the area have expressed an interest in Key conducting financial literacy programs, Quenneville said. The bank has followed through on those requests, and plans to conduct workshops on how to apply for small business loans.

"We want to start our engagement before the physical location opens," Humphrey said.

Quenneville said he expects the new branch to tap into a residential area near the branch. And he noted the new development underway in the area, including the Northland Workforce Training Center and investment at Erie County Medical Center.

"You'll have a nice really nicely appointed branch there on the corner of a highly visible location, and it will dress that corner up nicely," Quenneville said.

The new branch, which Key will lease, is a piece of a five-year community benefits plan the bank rolled out as it was acquiring First Niagara Bank. Key has not disclosed how much it is investing in the project.



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