Houses are hard to find in Vermont , but if you’re looking for a bank built of solid marble to live in, and locate your business, Bennington has the ideal property for you.

Joel and Nina Lentzner are selling their bank/residence/business, commanding one of the Four Corners in downtown Bennington at 338 Main Street , for $765, 000.

The 6, 650-square-foot building, built in 1931, houses the couple’s art gallery on the first floor, and homes them and their three children on the second floor, in a four-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse converted from the bank’s former offices.

The couple bought the bank in 1999 from Chittenden Bank, which was later merged with People’s United Bank, which was bought this year by M& T Bank.

“We were once turned down for a mortgage there when we were trying to buy our first house, ” Joel Lentzner said of the Bennington bank. “It became available and we negotiated with the bank. We got it for an amazing price. They needed to unload it. ”

The price was $150, 000. The contract included the stipulation that the couple would not sell the building to another financial institution for five years. Chittenden Bank had another branch across the street and didn’t want any competition moving in, according to Lentzner.

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As connoisseurs of art, the Lentzners appreciate the fine architectural details of the Depression-era building. The exterior is made from Vermont marble, while the interior features marbled from both Tennessee plus Italy.

“The Vermont quarry was owned by an Italian quarry that also owned a quarry in Tennessee, ” Lentzner explained. “The bank imported all these different marbles during the Depression because they had the money. inch

Seven massive chandeliers made of solid brass hang over the art gallery around the first floor.

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“We’ve had people from New York City come up for the chandeliers, ” Lentzner said. “One person offered $50, 000. We said, ‘No, you have to take the whole thing. ‘ (The chandeliers) look like they belong in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton. They’re out of place in a Vermont financial institution. The bank spent a lot of money to show they were a pillar of strength in the community. ”

Things weren’t quite as ornate upstairs where the couple created their living space, but there were still highly figured solid wood doors, Stanley solid brass door knobs and hinges, and beaded glass they preserved.

“The details they used back then were incredible, ” Lentzner said. “The bank didn’t really appreciate all the details. These people painted over wood doors and paneling. We stripped that back down. It’s beautiful. ”

In addition to the first and second floors, there’s a mezzanine where the bank president used to preside over his domain. The Lentzners used the space for children’s art classes.

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Lentzner stated he and his family — the couple have 3 daughters ages 13, 15 and 18 — enjoyed living amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Bennington, especially since they installed new windows that kept out most of the noise, unless an ambulance hurried by.

“Looking down from our living room, we’re right in the middle of protests, craft shows, car shows, everything that goes on Main Street Vermont, ” he mentioned. “It’s an unique experience. The kids have enjoyed that too. It makes you feel you’re part of the community. ”

Now that they’ve decided to move on, the Lentzners are looking for a conventional house with a yard, plus a new commercial space for their business — separate from their house. The days associated with combining their livelihood with their living space are over, Lentzner said.

“We’re done with that, we did that, ” he said. “We’re going to live amongst the trees. inch

The Bennington bank has been on and off the market for a few years, with a few offers that did not work out. People love the area, but then realize they don’t know what to do with it, according to Lentzner.

“We’re looking for somebody who has an existing business and wants to live upstairs, ” Lentzner said. “It’s a very unique space, waiting for the right buyer, who has an idea what the next iteration of the financial institution will be. ”

Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected] com . Follow him on Twitter @ DanDambrosioVT .   This coverage is only possible with support from our readers.