By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — For years, drivers on Route 125 passed by a vacant Mobil station near the busy highway’s intersection with Main Street.
Many of them no doubt wondered when someone was going to put a business on that site. Well, the wait is over.
Thursday morning, the Lowell Five Cent Savings Bank will open a branch at that location, officially known as 498 Chickering Road. It will be Lowell 5’s 16th branch office.
“Community banks bring a lot to the community,” said Lowell 5 Senior Vice President Amy Werner. The drive-through will open at 8 a.m., while the lobby will admit customers at 9 a.m., Werner said.
The absence of a business at this location was not due to a lack of effort by Louis Minicucci, the owner of the property who is leasing it to the Lowell 5. A few years ago, Starbucks wanted to build a coffee shop there.
The chain backed out of the tentative deal because of the global recession, according to Minicucci.
The Planning Board approved Lowell 5’s application to locate a branch on the property last June. Minicucci took care of demolishing and removing the station and construction began July 23, Werner said.
Jewett Construction of Raymond, N.H., was the general contractor, while NES of Mansfield designed the building and managed the construction, Werner said.
NES specializes in building banks, Werner said. Lowell 5 had never dealt with the firm, but the bank was “pleasantly surprised” by the work of both NES and Jewett, Werner said.
Two top leaders at the branch, Linda Firth, the manager, and Steve Ventre, vice president and loan officer, have connections with North Andover, Werner noted.
Ventre lives in this town while Firth has had numerous dealings with local residents during her banking career, she said.