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March 27, 2021

'Quintessential' Old Port building, a frequent photo backdrop, sold

Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group Ivy-covered 10 Dana St., a frequent backdrop for photos in the Old Port, sold for $3.6 million to a local investor.

A favorite photographic backdrop of the Old Port has sold to a local real estate investor after a year-and-a-half on the market.

Ivy Holdings LLC bought 10 Dana St. in Portland from 10 Dana Street LLC for $3.6 million.

Chris Craig from NAI The Dunham Group brokered the sale.

“I could easily argue it’s the most photographed building in Portland,” said Craig. “Graduation photos. Shoe companies. I’ll come by here and there’s five pairs of shoes lined up on the front steps and here comes a photographer.”

The property comprises a 12,345-square-foot brick-and-granite building with a retail tenant on the first floor and office tenants on the second through fifth floors. The building has a full basement and an exterior deck on the fifth floor. 

The deck and floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the working waterfront and the Old Port. Other features include 13-foot ceilings heights, exposed beams and a kitchenette on each floor.

Courtesy / NAI The Dunham Group
On a typical summer day, 10 Dana St., complemented by a picturesque cobblestone lane, is a popular photo backdrop, as seen here.

NAI The Dunham Group is itself one of the office tenants, occupying the fourth and fifth floors.

Glass tower

According to the city’s Portland Waterfront Historic District Inventory, the building dates to 1879 and was designed by Francis H. Fassett, a prolific 19th-century Maine architect. 

A wholesale grocer, Charles McLaughlin and Co., was the first firm to occupy the building.

It was extensively renovated in 2003 with updates that included new electrical, plumbing and natural gas systems. 

Several years ago, Archetype Architects in Portland led a renovation that included the addition of a contemporary glass-and-steel tower, designed to provide vertical access to the upper floors while visually complementing the architectural context, according to Archetype’s website.

The addition was needed to provide Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant elevator access, Craig said.

“It was impossible to put an elevator in the old building,” he explained. 

Firm price

The seller, 10 Dana Street LLC, consists of five partners who owned the property about 20 years, said Craig. The primary partner wanted to cash out in order to focus on another redevelopment project, he added.

The property saw a lot of interest during the time it was on the market, but didn’t sell immediately because of the “aggressive” price of $3.6 million, he said.

“A lot of people from as far as California want a little piece of Portland,” he said. “Portland is just cool. And if you want to buy the quintessential building in the Old Port in Portland, this is it. It’s got the water view, it’s got the brick, it’s in great shape, it’s on a cool street in the hub of the tourism area. It’s the perfect building.”

The primary partner was firm on the price.

“He said, ‘If we sell it at this number we sell it. If we don’t, we don’t,’” Craig said.

The buyer, Ivy Holdings LLC, was described as a local investor, who was not identified. The plan is to operate the building as is, Craig said.

The buyer had had his eye on the property for a while.

“He loves the building,” Craig said. “He drives by and says, ‘That’s my building!'”

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