Mayor Brown, Council President Bishop announce selections
Nine members of the Jacksonville community, each demonstrating a vested interest in the revitalization and continued success of Downtown, have been selected to serve on the board of directors for the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA).
Mayor Alvin Brown’s plans to create the DIA received unanimous approval from City Council on Aug. 15. The DIA’s projects will be guided by a nine-member board of directors who will conduct open-to-the-public business on an unpaid, volunteer basis. Of the nine, five are to be appointed by the mayor and four by the council president. All nine are confirmed by City Council.
“I’m excited to partner with business and community leaders to usher in this new era for our Downtown,” said Mayor Brown. “Everyone brings to the table a unique perspective on what it will take to create a sustainable environment to lure major companies, small businesses and world-class entertainment. This is a tremendous opportunity to polish the Jacksonville brand and make our city more competitive at a time cities all over the nation are fighting to recover.”
The DIA is a key component of the mayor’s economic development strategy and will be responsible for creating and managing business development, recruitment and marketing plans in the Downtown area. The legislation gives the DIA powers established under Florida law to use Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) resources to revitalize Downtown.
“The people of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida deserve a great Downtown, a vibrant place to be a hub of family-friendly activities and business opportunities,” said Council President Bishop. “City Council continues to work hard on solutions to revive the Jacksonville economy and we believe Downtown is an important piece of the puzzle.”
The Downtown Investment Authority continues the Brown Administration’s economic development reform efforts after the City Council, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott each approved a transformation of the former Jacksonville Economic Development Commission (JEDC) into an Office of Economic Development (OED) and the DIA.
Guidelines established in the DIA legislation specify that members of the board have substantive ties to Downtown and be Duval County residents. Six of the nine members must be a downtown resident, a downtown retail operator, a downtown real property owner, a member of the banking or finance industry, a person with business management experience, a practicing attorney, a person with commercial real estate experience, an architect or an urban planner.
Mayor Brown’s nominees to the DIA board are:
- Melody S. Bishop – An architect with Akel Logan & Shafer who serves on the A1A Florida Board of Directors and the Florida Foundation for Architecture Board of Trustees. Her firm is located in the Downtown area.
- Robert M. Clements – Chairman and CEO of EverBank, which recently relocated 1,500 employees to the new EverBank Center in Downtown.
- Kamaria (Kay) Harper – A practicing attorney with the Harper Law Firm and a Downtown resident.
- Donald Harris – General Manager of the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel, which is located on the Southbank.
- Paul Perez – Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida and current Chief Compliance Officer for Fidelity National Financial, which is located in the Downtown area.
Council President Bishop’s nominees to the DIA board are:
- Antonio Allegretti – Southbank resident with business management experience as the founding director of the Riverside Arts Market and a partner in Downtown’s Burrito Gallery restaurant. Currently serving as the Director of Downtown Engagement for the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.
- James F. Bailey Jr. – Downtown business and property owner as President of Bailey Publishing and Communications and Publisher of The Financial News & Daily Record.
- Oliver Barakat – A senior vice president for CBRE who represented EverBank in the company’s recent move of 1,500 employees Downtown to the former AT&T Tower.
- Donald A. Shea – Urban planner who serves as the executive director of the nonpartisan Jacksonville Civic Council and has extensive experience in economic development, including service as the executive director of the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority and President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.