Michele L. Whelley, the former chief executive of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, will become a senior vice president of advisory services at Baltimore-based Colliers Pinkard as the commercial real estate firm expands its work in the fast-growing areas of higher education, life sciences and health care.
The firm announced yesterday that Whelley, 51, who left the Downtown Partnership last summer to work as a consultant, will join Colliers Pinkard on Monday and work closely with President David Gillece in advising corporations and institutions such as hospitals, universities and biotech firms and developers.
Whelley's job is a newly created position and the first time that one of Colliers Pinkard's half-dozen senior vice presidents in the advisory services group will focus on specific business sectors.
"We wanted to have more leadership in these areas," said Wally Pinkard, chairman and chief executive. "Over the next decade, there will be growth in each of those sectors."
Colliers Pinkard also has area offices in Towson and Columbia and in North Carolina in Raleigh and Charlotte.
"When we look at our presence in Raleigh/Durham and in Baltimore, clearly one of the major engines of growth in both those areas are higher education, health and life science," said Gillece. "We want to be positioned to serve" clients in those fields.
Hiring Whelley, who worked for the Baltimore Development Corp. from 1990 to 1998, the last four years as executive vice president, will help Colliers Pinkard continue to diversify beyond the traditional real estate brokerage and leasing services, Pinkard said.
"A number of our clients are not looking for brokerage or leasing services per se," he said. "Their first priority is advice and problem solving and strategy development."
Advice can relate to a client's physical structure, decisions about owning versus leasing, where to locate facilities and financing, Gillece said.
Whelley said her consulting business had begun to focus on health care, life sciences and higher education when she was approached by Colliers.
"Certainly it's where the growth is," she said. "Research dollars are pouring into private and public institutions. Hospital systems are re-evaluating their needs in terms of accommodating the people who do the research and provide the care.
"All of that pulls real estate into the mix," she said.