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NEW HAVEN-As the city continues to revitalize its downtown district, Mayor John DeStefano Jr. has taken a step to help keep existing business in New Haven and attract new companies as well. The mayor reports he has formed the Economic Development Corp. of New Haven and has named Michele Whelley, a veteran of more than 20 years in the real estate and economic development sectors in Maryland as CEO of the new agency.

Most recently Whelley was SVP of Colliers Pinkard’s Baltimore office. Previously, she served as president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. Whelley will take over the 501(c)3 Corp. beginning on March 31.

“Economic development is a priority for New Haven,” says Mayor DeStefano. “The EDC will take our efforts to the next level and will help ensure that New Haven can efficiently and effectively compete for business. Based on the success New Haven has had with development partnerships with many entities including Becker & Becker developing the former Shartenberg site, our relationship with Science Park, Carter Winstanley’s success with 300 George St. and many others, we are ready to move to the next level and are confident that Michele can help us to capitalize on new opportunities.”

Whelley says that upon taking the helm of the new agency she will look to work with the city on both business attraction and retention; will launch a “Main Street” program to help retain small retail businesses in the downtown and surrounding districts; as well as help redevelop sections of the city that need redevelopment, including a one city block area that was devastated by a recent fire.

She adds that the city has achieved a good deal of success in revitalizing areas of New Haven, particularly in cooperation with Yale University. “Economic development is about identifying, establishing, and nurturing business opportunities that are mutually beneficial,” Whelley says. “I intend to build upon existing relationships with developers, business and community leaders while also aggressively fostering new ones.”

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