A top executive of Browning Investments Inc. is leaving the locally based developer and jumping to The Whitsett Group LLC.
Dennis Dye, 49, told IBJ that by the end of the month he will join Whitsett, a prolific developer of affordable housing projects, as a partner.
“There is no acrimony here at all,” Dye said of his decision to leave Browning. “This is simply me wanting to be a partner.”
Dye currently is an executive vice president of Browning, where he is responsible for mortgage financing, building development and negotiations to buy and sell property.
His decision to join The Whitsett Group stems partly from his longtime friendship with Joe Whitsett, who founded the company in 2007. The two shared an office while working at Ernst & Whinney, the predecessor to the Ernst & Young accounting firm, in the 1980s.
"I've always had a great deal of respect for Dennis," Whitsett said. "We just see this as a great opportunity for the company to grow and bring on some expertise at a very high level."
Dye is a certified public accountant who earned an MBA from Indiana University.
While at the accounting firm, Dye took on Browning as a client, which ultimately led him to join the developer.
Browning’s portfolio includes primarily industrial and office projects. But the firm is beginning to tackle more mixed-use developments containing multi-family housing.
It has proposed a $17 million mixed-use development in Broad Ripple featuring 60 to 70 apartments and 35,000 square feet of commercial space. The project is slated for a 1.9-acre site on the northeast corner of College Avenue and the Central Canal.
Browning Investments is partnering with The Whitsett Group on a proposal to redevelop a portion of the former Market Square Arena site. It's one of six proposals the city is evaluating for the vacant site.
Much of Whitsett's focus is downtown. IBJ reported in April that the developer has proposed buying The Indianapolis Star's headquarters on North Pennsylvania Street and redeveloping it for housing. A non-disclosure agreement prohibits the company from revealing its plans for the structure.
It's that sort of project that attracted Dye to Whitsett.
“I like the urban redevelopment-type projects,” Dye said. “I find those very interesting; you can be more creative.”
Other Whitsett projects involving the rehab of older buildings include 1010 Central Apartments, 333 Penn Apartments and 800 North Capital.
Dye has served two stints at Browning. He first joined in 1988 as a financial analyst but left to help form Camile Products, a software firm, where he helped raise capital to finance marketing and product development.
He led Camile through its sale to Argonaut Technologies, a publicly traded company based in Foster City, Calif., before rejoining Browning in 2002.
At The Whitsett Group, Dye will join Joe Whitsett and his stepchildren, Tony Knoble and Anna Knoble, as principals.