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February 12, 2018
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (February 07, 2018) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will be hosting the International Downtown Association’s (IDA) inaugural Southeast Urban District Forum on February 12 and 13 at the Hilton West Palm Beach. Attendees from around the southeastern U.S. will hear insight on topics relevant to the creation of thriving downtowns, including new mobility options, economic development strategies, and creative placemaking. The mission of the IDA is to connect diverse leaders who transform cities into healthy, vibrant urban places.
“Downtown West Palm Beach was selected for this year’s conference because of our innovations and downtown culture, which is increasingly well known and emulated,” said Raphael Clemente, Executive Director, West Palm Beach DDA.  “Especially notable is the now thriving Arts & Entertainment District, and the newly launched Flagler Financial District, combining a thriving business community with the recreation, retail and entertainment options that make downtown so appealing for residents, businesses and visitors.”
Speakers include:
  • Mayor Jeri Muoio, City of West Palm Beach
  • Raphael Clemente, Executive Director, West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority
  • David Downey, President & CEO, IDA
  • Nicholas Martinez, AICP Senior Manager, Urban Economics & Market Development, Miami Downtown Development Authority
  • Chad Emerson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Huntsville, Alabama
  • Ali Soule, Director of Public Relations, Brightline
  • Juan Orellana, SkyBike West Palm Beach
  • Chris Luz, Associate Vice President, Desman Parking
  • Michael Berne, Principal, MJB Consulting
  • Pola Bunster, Director of Storytelling, Prism Creative Group
  • Meg Daly, Founder, Friends of the Underline
  • Michael DeBock, President & CEO, Economic Council of Palm Beach County
  • Victor Dover, FAICP, Founding Principal of Dover, Kohl & Partners
  • Tony Garcia, Principal of Street Plans Collaborative
  • Sam Gill, Vice President/Communities & Impact, Senior Adviser to the President at John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Gopal Rajegowda, Senior VP, Southeast, of the Related Companies
Prior to the sessions, attendees are invited to a historical walking tour of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach to learn about its architectural roots and significance, influence on the fashion world and development of the legendary social scene that established Palm Beach as America’s first resort destination in the gilded age. Also available is a Brightline train trip from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale, where attendees will learn first-hand how Fort Lauderdale is focusing on its night-time economy, historic preservation, and transit.
“Throughout this region of Florida, there are so many remarkable examples and nationally recognized projects that have helped transform previously dormant urban places into thriving centers of activity and investment.” said David Downey, President & CEO of  IDA. “With history, culture, natural beauty, and a rapidly evolving urban core, West Palm Beach is the perfect showcase for what is happening in IDA’s Southeast region
About the Downtown Development Authority
The West Palm Beach DDA is an independent taxing district created in 1967 by a special act of the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to promote and enhance a safe, vibrant Downtown for our residents, businesses and visitors through the strategic development of economic, social and cultural opportunities.
For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.
Tony P Theissen, Senior Brand Manager/Media Strategist
(561) 832-3231

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