"I'm no stranger to working in environments where capital is limited," Wallace said Monday, his first day on the job.
"In Detroit, we had less than $750,000 when I got there. I was able, fortunately, in three years to raise almost $30 million in capital," he said.
Wallace is the former executive director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority and was selected to lead the Downtown Investment Authority by its nine-member after a nationwide search. His annual salary is $178,000.
"We need leadership and the community is looking to the DIA to provide that leadership," said board Chair Oliver Barakat, who introduced Wallace to the media.
Barakat said Wallace's time at the Detroit entity is similar to that of the authority in that Wallace was the organization's first executive director and grew the organization to a staff of 10 and an annual budget of $1.5 million.
"It's going to be a great challenge. I'm looking forward to it," said Wallace.
He anticipates hiring a five-member staff for the authority.
The first order of business will be to spend his first 90 days "meeting and greeting" all Downtown stakeholders and assuring them the authority is operational, he said.
"Now it's time for me to come in and lead the board in a management aspect," Wallace said.
Barakat said Wallace's arrival also will allow the board to be more productive and the authority will "have somebody who can focus exclusively on Downtown."
Establishing a Downtown master plan also is a priority, which the authority has retained a consultant to develop. Barakat said the consultant has projected it to be complete by February.
The plan must be approved by Council.
"We need to go into 2014 having a lot of these things behind us," Wallace said.
One issue currently in front of Wallace and the board is the redirection of a $9 million fund established for Downtown projects. The City Council Finance Committee as part of its budget review diverted those funds into a capital projects account.
"Reallocating that money at this time does interrupt momentum. Notwithstanding that, we continue to engage with developers. We will be lobbying City Council to try to explain why it's important to preserve those funds," said Barakat.
Wallace later said one of his goals is to have the development community comfortable with the authority as a "one-stop shop."
"They can come in and talk about a particular project and we are responsive to their actual needs. Having that reputation in the marketplace is critical for us," he said.
"Jacksonville has a lot of great things in the pipeline. We just need to figure out what needs to be done and get projects moving," he said.
With funding limited, new Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace said Monday he will seek assistance from the public, private and philanthropic sectors to invest in Downtown.