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J.B. Brown & Sons New England History


Founded by legendary entrepreneur John Bundy Brown in 1830, J.B. Brown & Sons is a local company with a rich history that started in sugar manufacturing, food retailing and hotels. With substantial land holdings and properties in all sectors of the Portland real estate market, Brown eventually developed much of Congress Street, the Waterfront, and the West End.

Brown’s successors form an unbroken chain that has owned, developed, and managed commercial and industrial properties since 1830. Still family-owned today, J.B. Brown & Sons is characterized by its stable ownership and conservative long-term outlook.

J.B. Brown timeline
  • 1830 Developed the Western Promenade as a counterpart to the Eastern Promenade
  • 1840-1873 John Bundy Brown operates the Portland Sugar Company
  • 1855-59 Brown’s private residence, Bramhall, designed by Charles A. Alexander is built on a ten-acre lot on the Western Promenade
  • 1868 The Falmouth Hotel is built on Middle Street – a symbol of the rebirth of Portland’s commercial district after the 1866 fire
  • 1881 John Bundy Brown dies
  • 1882-83 Phillip Henry and John Marshall Brown build the J.B. Brown Memorial Building on Congress Street to honor their father after his death in 1881
  • 1903 J.B. Brown & Sons Incorporates
  • 1972 J.B. Brown & Sons merges with the W.H. Clifford Company
  • 1987 J.B. Brown & Sons assembles the land for the development of One & Two Portland Square.
  • 1997 Historic rehab of the Cannery Building
  • 2004 Exited the west end residential market selling converted condominium units
  • 2011 Re-purchased Commercial Street land previously sold by the firm in 1879
  • 2014 Developed the Courtyard by Marriott on Commercial Street
  • 2015 Re-purchased an entire city block on Free Street between Cross and Center Streets that the company originally purchased in the 1800s
  • 2016 Entered Bangor market
  • 2017 Developed 63 residential units, retail space, and a parking garage at 101 York Street
  • 2020 Developed 51 residential units and retail space at 40 Free Street