East Brown Cow Acquires Four Historic Buildings on Lower Exchange Street in Portland, Maine

Tim Soley

PORTLAND – East Brown Cow and their Malone Commercial Brokers announced the acquisition of four historic buildings on Lower Exchange Street in Portland, Maine.

The transaction is the largest in the Old Port since East Brown Cow acquired the $11.7 million Middle Street portfolio of 4 Canal Plaza, 178 Middle Street and 184 Middle Street in January 2021.

In total, the buildings comprise over 79,000 gross square feet (GSF) of property along vibrant and historic Exchange Street and will now form part of East Brown Cow’s growing efforts to preserve and enhance the urban fabric of the Old Port. historical.

Built in the mid-to-late 19th century after the Great Portland Fire of 1866, each building features distinctive architectural details and brick masonry construction, similar to most buildings in the Old Port of this period.

36 Exchange Street, also known as the Widgery Block, was completed in 1871 in the Italianate style and is a 3-storey mixed-use office and retail building totaling 10,393 GSF.

44 Exchange Street, also known as Thomas Block II – not to be confused with East Brown Cow’s Elias Thomas Block at 100 Commercial Street – was completed in 1870 also in the Italian style and is an office building and 3-story mixed-use retail building totaling 11,200 GSF.

45 Exchange Street, also known as Preble Block II, was completed in 1867 in the Second Empire style and is a 4-storey mixed-use office and retail building totaling 25,071 GSF.

57 Exchange Street, also known as the First National Bank Block, was completed in 1884 in the Queen Anne style and is a 5-storey mixed-use office and retail building totaling 32,800 GSF. The architecturally most significant of the portfolio, 57 Exchange was built for the First National Bank of Portland (originally founded in 1859 as the National Bank of Portland), from designs by architects Henry Van Brunt and Frank M. Howe of Van Brunt & Howe of Boston. Van Brunt & Howe, and its predecessor Ware & Van Brunt, designed significant buildings across the United States, including Harvard University’s Memorial Hall, Electrical, and the Wyoming Building at the World’s Fair in Columbia in Chicago, Cambridge Public Library and Union Station in Portland, Oregon, among others.

The properties have been purchased by Portland-based investment, development and property management firm East Brown Cow, which will immediately begin working with existing tenants to accommodate their continued occupancy. The acquisition reflects East Brown Cow’s strategy and commitment to quality, with an emphasis on urban design, architectural excellence and historic preservation.

“East Brown Cow is delighted to welcome these properties to its growing Old Port portfolio,” said Tim Soley, President and CEO of East Brown Cow. “Since the founding of East Brown Cow over 30 years ago, we have always taken a distinctly detailed and thoughtful approach to real estate investing. This acquisition of Exchange Street presented a rare opportunity to continue our strategic growth in this part of town and enhance our ongoing work there to organize and preserve meaningful connections within Portland’s vibrant downtown. We are excited to manage these historic properties in the future.

The purchase was brokered by Joe Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers as buyer and Jim Harnden of Harnden Commercial Brokers and Avison Young as seller. The seller was the Goldy family, owners of the properties since 1992. The acquisition was finalized on September 19, 2022.

“The owner’s decision to sell these assets represented an ideal opportunity for the buyer to further develop their portfolio in the desirable Old Port neighborhood while investing in the history and preservation of these three properties,” said Joe Malone. .

Since its inception in the summer of 1989 by Tim Soley as a first-generation family business, East Brown Cow’s portfolio has grown significantly to include more than 20 assets in the greater urban area of ​​Portland, Maine. , including over 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use office, retail, hospitality space and structured parking.