The Story of the Arts Exchange
The People’s National Bank & Trust Building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue, now known as the Arts Exchange, is a rare survivor of a past era—one of only a handful of pre-1930 office buildings still standing in White Plains.
At a whopping nine stories tall, the People’s National Bank & Trust Company building awed the people of White Plains when it opened for business November 25, 1929. As the first ‘skyscraper’ in White Plains it was welcomed with great fanfare in local newspapers. The White Plains Daily Press, for example, lauded the building as “…an accomplishment of building ingenuity, architecture and materials.”
In the succeeding decades, both the city of White Plains and the People’s National Bank & Trust Company underwent several transformations. Although the People’s National Bank & Trust Company lost its identity through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the building remained a bank headquarters for several decades occupied by companies such as the National Bank of Westchester (NBW) and the Chase Manhattan Bank.
By the late 1990s, when ArtsWestchester entered the picture, the People’s Bank & Trust Company Building – as well as the entire city block between Martine Avenue and Main Street – had been vacant for three years.
Where others saw an abandoned wreck, ArtsWestchester’s Board and Executive Director saw a future. With renovations, the former bank could provide low-rent studio space enabling a wide range of artists to create and collaborate, house creative businesses and provide a centralized, street level venue to showcase the work of the county’s performing and visual artists.
In 1998 ArtsWestchester purchased it from Chase Manhattan Bank for $1,200,000. In November of 2000, JP Morgan Chase retired the mortgage, in effect donating the building to ArtsWestchester . The rest, as they say, is history.
> Click here to see photos of the renovation.
> Click here to download The Story of the Arts Exchange, a brochure about the history & architecture of our building.
> Purchase The Story of the Arts Exchange. ($5 includes tax & shipping)
> Coming Soon: Watch our documentary video The Story of the Arts Exchange.