New People's United Bank branch in Shelton makes ‘a statement’

People’s United Bank officials said they are thrilled to have a physical presence in Huntington Center, with the opening of a new branch on Shelton Avenue.

“We are happy to be a part of Huntington Center and the Shelton market,” said Armando Goncalves, southern Connecticut market president for the bank.

Cathy Ferreira-Golino, branch manager, called the new location “fantastic. Our volume is up. Our customers are happy. We have good neighbors, and we helped beautify this section of Huntington.”

Bill Purcell, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce president, is impressed with the new building.

“This is a statement,” Purcell said. “It complements the architecture on the Huntington Green and will make a significant impact.”

The 3,070-square-foot facility was built at the former Huntington Hardware site. The bank refers to the branch as a “financial services center” to reflect the array of services offered at the location.

High-profile corner

During a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Mark Lauretti said the new bank building is symbolic of Shelton’s business-friendly environment.

“This is a community that takes pride in its business community, which should be appreciated,” Lauretti said.

Lauretti also likes the design of the structure and the layout of the property, which is just under an acre. “We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this corner,” he said. “It’s a high-profile corner, and this is pretty dynamic.”

The Huntington Center location replaces a branch in a Bridgeport Avenue commercial building. People’s United still operates an in-store and drive-through branch at Stop & Shop on Bridgeport Avenue.

The first People’s United branch in Shelton opened in 1988, Goncalves said.

Many services offered at branch

The new facility has 10 full- and part-time employees, who have a combined 156 years of banking experience, said Al Paolozzi, People’s United market manager and vice president of the Shelton market.

The location has two 24-hour ATMs (one lobby and one drive-up), and free self-serve coin-counting machine and coffee bar.

The branch will offer retail services, commercial loans, payroll processing, merchant services, business credit cards, 401(k) administration services, financial advisory, and wealth management services.

During the opening ceremony, a $1,000 check was presented to the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley, with locations in Shelton and Ansonia. “This will absolutely go to great use,” said Shaye A. Roscoe, the club’s executive director.

Roscoe said the club assists 2,000 local young people annually through after-school programs and other activities.

‘Green design’ was used

Joe Pereira, principal of Pereira Engineering in Shelton, is proud his firm handled the civil and site engineering work on the project.

“It’s a new project in my back yard,” Pereira said. “I live and work in town. My children have been watching the project as it progressed.”

Pereira said the project incorporated many “green design” aspects such as treating all storm-water run-off through bioretention (gardens and wetlands) and using dark-sky friendly light fixtures.

The building’s base elevation is more than four feet higher than the previous building due to the city’s new flood zone rules, and an eight-foot-wide sidewalk and golf cart path provides access to the back nine holes for Brownson Country Club golfers.

Traditional look to the building

Architect Dave Stein of Hamden-based Silver/Petrucelli designed the building. He said he used brick, copper and traditional architectural forms to match the surroundings.

“Architecture is about creating a permanent setting and this is a building that will last,” Stein said.

Purcell said People’s United is a bank that has become a regional powerhouse while maintaining the local touch. “This is an expression of that approach,” he said.

“Thank you for your investment,” he told bank officials at the opening.

People’s United was founded in 1842 in Bridgeport, where it is still based, and now has 418 retail locations from New York to Maine. Huntington is the 165th branch in Connecticut.