Former Delaware banks used for restaurants, salons and churches

Stately bank buildings once had an imposing presence in big and small towns throughout Delaware.

With impressive architecture, high ceilings and fascinating vaults, they conveyed a sense of strength and security.

As financial institutions consolidated, many of the familiar buildings closed and branches followed customers to the suburbs.

But when a bank closes, an opportunity opens for innovative business owners, homeowners and even church congregations. We’ve highlighted four.

Church finds a good investment

CenterPoint Church at 5 W. Commerce Street, Smyrna, is the former location of several banks, most recently Citizens Bank and before that, Mellon Bank, Farmers Bank and the Fruit Growers National Bank.

CenterPoint Church is located in the former Citizens Bank building on West Commerce Street in downtown Smyrna.

The congregation bought the building in 2018 and spent a year renovating. The main level included teller windows, desks and the vault, while the second floor was office space.

The Rev. Dave Dorst, senior pastor, started his tenure at the church after the initial improvements were finished.

“It’s a 100-year-old building, so the renovations were extensive and still ongoing,” Dorst said. The church members are working on the basement level for Sunday school rooms and storage.

The Rev. Dave Dorst, senior pastor of 
CenterPoint Church, stands in the sanctuary of the church in the former Citizens Bank building in Smyrna.

The congregation had been meeting in rented space for more than 12 years.

“We’ve heard that other churches looked at buying the building but passed on it because it was too much work,” Dorst said, but a few CenterPoint members in the contracting business were confident that the building could be renovated to fit the church’s needs.

The congregation wanted a building in a central location that could hold at least 100 people for worship services and be used weekdays as well. 

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