The mutual insurance company MEMIC says it moved to solidify its presence in the heart of Portland’s booming downtown when it purchased the property that was home to Brian Ború, the beloved Irish pub that closed last month.

Casco View Holdings III, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the workers’ compensation insurer, registered a deed for the bar and restaurant at 59 Center St. on Aug. 28, three days after patrons raised their last glass there. The land deal gave the Maine Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. the third and final property on the block bordered by Spring, Center, Fore and Cotton streets.

The company, which has its headquarters nearby on the corner of Commercial and Cross streets, does not have immediate plans for the property at 59 Center St., spokesman Tony Payne said.

“In as much as we own the balance of that block, it seemed to be a smart decision to secure it for anything we choose to do in the future,” he said.

City assessors records show the sale price was $2.26 million.

MEMIC, through its subsidiary, began buying property on the block in 2013, when it purchased parking lots there for $2.1 million, city records show. The next year, it bought 8 Cotton St., a mixed-use building and home of Rivalries sports bar, for $3.7 million.


The company set up Casco View Holdings in 2009 to hold and invest in real estate, according to 2018 financial statement to the Maine Bureau of Insurance. The subsidiary owns MEMIC’s headquarters and office and retail space on Commercial Street.

Daniel Steele, the longtime owner of Brian Ború, said that he knew MEMIC owned other properties around his restaurant and that the company always had been a good neighbor. It was logical that he would consider it first when he thought about selling, and vice versa Steele said.

“I would say it was a mutual awareness, a tango so to speak,” he said.

The property is in the middle of Portland’s changing downtown. A development company called North River IV in May pitched a master plan to redevelop two large surface parking lots directly next to MEMIC’s parcel into apartments, a hotel, office and retail space. The same company recently submitted plans for a six-story parking garage on Cotton Street.

Steele is sure MEMIC has a long-term plan for the property, but for the moment he expects it will lease the Brian Ború building.

“I would love to see it reopen as a pub so I could visit again,” he said.

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