Call it the TD Something Garden.
An otherwise routine name change for a sponsoring bank has again put the name of Boston's well-known sports and entertainment venue up in the air.
Yesterday, TD Banknorth Inc. said it will change its name to TD Commerce Bank following its $8.5 billion purchase of a New Jersey institution, Commerce Bancorp Inc. The deal will greatly expand the domestic footprint of Canadian-owned Banknorth and give it a total of 1,100 US branches. Names on TD Banknorth locations will be changed by next year, executives said yesterday.
But undecided is what name it will put on the Garden, the 19,600-seat arena near North Station that serves as the home of the Boston Celtics basketball team, the Boston Bruins hockey franchise, rock concerts, and family shows.
"For sure the 'Garden' will remain there, and what version of 'TD' goes in front of it is the question," said Bharat Masrani, TD Banknorth's chief executive.
Built adjacent to the site of the storied old Boston Garden, the new arena was originally to be known as the Shawmut Center. Before it even opened in 1995 it was renamed the FleetCenter, after Shawmut Corp. was acquired by the bank later known as FleetBoston Financial Corp. When Fleet in turn was acquired by Bank of America Corp. in 2004 it gave up naming rights, and TD Banknorth stepped in to pay $6 million a year - triple the rate Fleet was paying.