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East Brown Cow Welcomes National Retailer Free People to Maine

Updated: Feb 22

East Brown Cow and Malone Commercial Brokers are pleased to share that Free People has signed a 10-year lease for a premier storefront at 121 Middle Street, bringing yet another popular national brand to the growing retail corridor along Portland’s Middle Street. The 121 Middle Street location will be Free People’s first brick and mortar storefront in Maine.

The 4,101-square foot space that makes up Suite 101, formerly occupied by Grove Collaborative, is housed within a historic property known as the Thompson Block, currently under renovation. The deal was brokered by Peter Harrington of Malone Commercial Brokers and Tim Duffy of The McDevitt Company.

“We’ve been working closely with our partners at Malone Commercial Brokers to carefully curate the growing retail mix in our properties throughout the Old Port,” says Tim Soley, President and CEO of East Brown Cow. “Based on our current mix of both local and national retail tenants, and their success in these locations, we’re extremely confident that Free People will only continue this exciting trajectory and further activate the vibrant urban fabric of Portland’s unique downtown. We look forward to welcoming them to Maine.”

Free People, best known for offering a vast array of products that reflect an inherent love for all things bohemian, empowering, and fun, is a Philadelphia-based retailer, currently available online worldwide and in top department and specialty stores across the country. They join a growing selection of major national brands, including Madewell, Anthropologie, Athleta, Urban Outfitters, West Elm and others, as well as a dynamic list of local retailers on Portland’s historic Old Port. The new space will showcase Free People's latest collections, providing customers with a unique shopping experience.

Originally completed in 1867, 121 Middle Street is a four-story, 37,847 square foot Second Empire style building that was designed by Architect George M. Harding. Encompassing an entire block, this building has been managed by East Brown Cow since its acquisition in 2000. The exterior stays true to its historic roots with sandstone and brownstone detail, and a cast iron and carved wood storefront at street level that includes decorative columns and scroll-work.

In 2019, following extensive renovations, East Brown Cow announced the opening of a brand-new hospitality offering within the building. Now known as The Docent’s Collection, the upper floors of 121 Middle offer guests a suite of Urban Homes fusing the first-class hospitality of a hotel stay with modern, mobile-first service and personalized amenities more typically associated with a luxury residential rental. Taken altogether, the property offers a unique opportunity in a high visibility location for a dynamic retail tenant.

Peter Harrington, a seasoned commercial real estate broker based in Portland, played a pivotal role in securing this location for Free People, leveraging his understanding of the brand’s vision and local market dynamics.

“Working with the team from East Brown Cow and Tim Duffy was a great experience and showcased the collaborative nature of this deal and the strength of these partnerships,” explains Pete. “It is fantastic to have Free People signed at 121 Middle Street. URBN is one of the best retail groups in existence and will now have three stores along Middle Street with Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. I can’t think of any better tenant to have anchor the first floor of this historic and well-positioned property.”

The 121 Middle Street Free People is scheduled to open its doors this August. Store hours and more information will be made available in the weeks leading up to the opening.


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