Build Up Downtown seeking to fill two leadership positions

Allan DeVault and Laura Phillips Edgecombe worked at the agency to revitalize Downtown since 2021.

  • By Dan Macdonald
  • | 3:23 p.m. November 30, 2023
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Build Up Downtown
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Build Up Downtown, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2021, is seeking to rebuild after its two employees resigned.

Allan DeVault, executive director of Build Up Downtown, resigned to take a position with the Downtown Investment Authority.

He will continue to assist Build Up Downtown until a replacement is hired.

Laura Phillips Edgecombe, former director of development, is now the principal of Downtown Public Spaces for the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. She is an executive on loan to the city to work with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. 

Alan DeVault and Laura Phillips Edgecombe

She is concentrating on facilitating activation of Downtown public spaces, according to the Jessie Ball duPont Fund website.

Build Up Downtown’s charge is to work with area stakeholders on important initiatives for the region, said Alex Sifakis, chairman of the Build Up Downtown board of directors, in an emailed statement.

It has given tours to businesses and individuals that have shown interest in growing Downtown. It has also worked to revitalize dozens of civic and business groups as well as modernizing Downtown’s open container laws, Sifakis added.

“After two years of successfully championing Downtown Jacksonville, Allan DeVault tendered his resignation to our board of directors earlier this month to pursue a new professional opportunity with the City of Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority (DIA),” Sifakis said in the statement.

“With our two original staff members – Allan DeVault and Laura Edgecombe – departing the organization to assume new downtown-centric roles at the DIA and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, respectively, the Build Up Downtown board will be looking for new staff leadership in 2024,” he said.

“Laura is well-positioned to oversee a Downtown public spaces strategy that welcomes community participation and a wide variety of partnerships,” Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, said on the website.

DeVault is joining the DIA as a project manager. 

The Mayor’s Budget Review Board passed a request Nov. 27 by DIA CEO Lori Boyer to increase the position’s base salary from $57,733 to $90,000. Boyer told the committee the DIA had been looking for a candidate for the position for more than a year.

The salary change has to be approved by the Jacksonville City Council.



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