I joined several other Town Meeting folks last night at Barts, and we talked a little bit about the Kentucky Fried Bank at the corner of Triangle and North Pleasant streets (picture credit: Larry Kelley, I swiped it from his blog).
The consensus was that Bank of America was stupid not to be more creative when developing it-- that's a valuable piece of real estate, close to downtown and UMass. Maybe they could've built a nice two-story building with a bank and maybe a shop downstairs, an apartment or two upstairs.
Only I'm not sure banks are allowed to do that kind of thing. Banks are still heavily regulated; for example, the Bank Holding Company Act:
...generally prohibited a bank holding company from engaging in most non-banking activitiesPart of that Federal law has been repealed (banks are allowed to merge across state lines now), but I think most of the regulations are still in effect. And then there are all the state banking regulations.
Is our Ugly Little Bank an unintended consequence of our banking regulations? I dunno, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if it was...