07/29/14 – Downtown Summit Showcases the Evolution of Downtown and a Look at What’s to Come

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 29, 2014) – The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will host its first annual Downtown Summit on Tuesday, Aug. 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Palm Beach Dramaworks. This year’s event will provide updates to residents, business owners, civic and government leaders and other Downtown stakeholders on the status of significant development and new business projects, as well as review both recent progress the district has made and offer a perspective of how far Downtown has come over the past five years.


“Downtown West Palm Beach has experienced steady growth over the past five years, despite the severe economic challenges that began in 2008,” said Howard Pincus, chair of the DDA Board of Directors. “It’s clear that we are now on a growth path, judging from the exciting new projects that are presented to us at the DDA almost every day. Residents and business owners should enjoy the confidence that our strong forward momentum has generated. The interest among investors in Downtown West Palm Beach is at levels we have not seen in years.”


The DDA and the Downtown community will also recognize DDA’s former executive director, Melissa Wohlust, for her contributions to the Downtown district and the impact she had in shaping what has now become a vibrant Downtown district and one of the most appealing in South Florida.


Wohlust first joined the DDA in 2000 as the merchants and hospitality coordinator and director of Downtown trolley operations. In 2003, she was promoted to executive liaison to the executive director, and soon after to associate director. In 2006, the DDA board promoted Wohlust to officially lead the organization as executive director. During her 11 years at the DDA, Wohlust had always served as an advocate for the community on relevant policy issues concerning Downtown as well as quality of life, safety and security issues. One of Wohlust’s key missions while representing the DDA was to cultivate an active neighborhood community, engage stakeholders and mentor professionals to do the same. With this goal in mind, she established the Downtown Task Force, which led to the formal establishment of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.


“Melissa had a pivotal and challenging role in laying the groundwork for the turn-around we’ve now accomplished for the Clematis District,” said DDA Executive Director Raphael Clemente. “Her insight, ideas and ability to form consensus among disparate parties is the foundation of the harmony that now exists between the DDA, its constituents, funding sources and other partners. We owe her a significant debt of gratitude.”


The Palm Beach Dramaworks is located at 201 Clematis Street. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 6 p.m. then again for a reception following from 8 to 9 p.m. in the theater’s lobby. Guests are required to RSVP by Aug. 6. For more information call 561-833-8873 and to RSVP, please contact Catherine Ast at the DDA at cast@westpalmbeachdda.com.


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.