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September 21, 2022

East Brown Cow acquires Exchange Street real estate portfolio for $13M

brick building with ivy and bike rack Courtesy / East Brown Cow In the Old Port, 45 Exchange St., dating back to 1867, was part of a portfolio acquired by East Brown Cow for $13.45 million.

East Brown Cow, a real estate investment, development and management firm in Portland, said Tuesday it acquired four historic buildings on lower Exchange Street in Portland for $13.45 million.

The deal was brokered by Joe Malone of Malone Commercial Brokers for the buyer and Jim Harnden of Harnden Commercial Brokers and Avison Young for the seller. 

The seller was the Goldy Family, which had owned the properties since 1992. 

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

The acquisition was finalized on Sept. 19.

“This Exchange Street acquisition presented a rare opportunity to continue our strategic growth in this area of the city and enhance our ongoing work there to curate and preserve meaningful connections within Portland’s dynamic downtown,” said East Brown Cow’s president and CEO, Tim Soley.

In total, the buildings comprise more than 79,000 gross square feet of property along Exchange Street in the Old Port where, Soley said, East Brown Cow’s goal is to preserve and enhance the urban fabric of the historic neighborhood.

19th century structures

Built in the mid to late 19th century following Portland’s Great Fire of 1866, each building has distinctive architectural details and brick masonry construction, similar to much of the building stock found in the Old Port from that period.

• 36 Exchange St., also known as the Widgery Block, was completed in 1871 in the Italianate style and is a three-story mixed-use office and retail building totaling 10,393 gross square feet.

• 44 Exchange St., also known as the Thomas Block II — not to be confused with East Brown Cow’s Elias Thomas Block at 100 Commercial St. — was completed in 1870 also in the Italianate style and is a three-story mixed-use office and retail building totaling 11,200 GSF.  

brick building and street
Courtesy / East Brown Cow
36 and 44 Exchange St., dating back to the 1870s, house offices and stores.

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

• 57 Exchange St., also known as the First National Bank Block, was completed in 1884 in the Queen Anne style and is a five-story mixed-use office and retail building totaling 32,800 gross square feet. 

reddish brick building
Courtesy / East Brown Cow
57 Exchange St., also known as the First National Bank Block, is a distinctive structure completed in 1884 in the Queen Anne style.

The most architecturally significant of the portfolio, 57 Exchange was built for the First National Bank of Portland – originally founded in 1859 as 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 throughout the United States, including Memorial Hall at Harvard University, the Electricity and the Wyoming Building at the World’s Columbia Exposition in Chicago, the Cambridge Public Library, and Union Station in Portland, Ore.

Strategic growth

East Brown Cow said it would immediately begin working with existing tenants to continue their occupancy. The firm said its focus is on urban design, architectural excellence and historic preservation.

The properties add to the firm’s growing Old Port portfolio and is the largest in the neighborhood since East Brown Cow’s $11.7 million Middle Street portfolio acquisition of 4 Canal Plaza,  178 Middle St. and 184 Middle St. in January 2021. 

Soley established East Brown Cow, itself headquartered in the Old Port, in 1989. Its portfolio has grown to include over 20 assets in Greater Portland, including over 1.2 million square feet of mixed-use office, retail, hospitality space and structured parking. 

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