WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (August 9, 2019) – More than 150 residents, investors and business owners packed the The Don & Ann Brown Theatre at Palm Beach Dramaworks Wednesday night to hear the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) Executive Director, Raphael Clemente, report on Downtown’s recent successes, new programs and plans for the future.

A key point he made was the changing nature of the downtown district from primarily commercial with little residential to a dynamic where it is now home to more than 6,500 residents. The shift has prompted the DDA to also shift the emphasis in its funding allocations.

“About a decade ago, it became clear that we needed a neighborhood association for Downtown,” Clemente said. “The growing number of residential properties downtown is bringing great value to the district, and the number of residences is expected to grow by 32 percent through the end of this year. The median age for new residents is 37, and over 40 percent make an average annual income of over $100,000.”

The DDA is investing in rich programing to attract and sustain a high quality of life for Downtown residents and attract more businesses to the district. These are in addition to the staple of DDA-funded programs to keep its streets clean and safe, and to assist business owners with a wide array of services.  

“We have also made major progress on addressing the issue of homelessness issue through both the Outreach Team and the Downtown Clean Team. Both work hand-in-hand with The Lord’s Place and compliment the programs the City of West Palm Beach has created, to find individualized solutions to homeless individuals who frequent the Downtown. The goal is to find ways to assist those in need re-establish themselves within the community.” In June of this year, the Outreach Team served 79 people who meet the criteria.

“I can always count on the DDA to help us promote the Downtown, which is a key component to the City’s growth,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James. “While the Downtown District represents only two percent of the City’s footprint, it is especially significant, with 30 percent of all West Palm Beach jobs located in Downtown.”

            The DDA announced several upcoming programs and events during its presentation, which included expanding trolley routes to connect Downtown with other areas of the City, a new urban garden and several creative community events and exhibitions to be revealed in the near future. For more information about Downtown and the WPB Downtown Development Authority, visit DowntownWPB.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.

For more information about the DDA or Downtown West Palm Beach, please visit downtownwpb.com or call the DDA at (561) 833-8873.