Downtown Investment Authority board extends CEO Lori Boyer’s contract

In an 8-0 vote, she received a one-year extension with an option for another.

  • By Ric Anderson
  • | 5:54 p.m. May 15, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer
Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer
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Two days after a member of a special City Council committee raised the possibility of dissolving the Downtown Investment Authority over frustrations about the pace of progress in Downtown revitalization, DIA CEO Lori Boyer drew praise and a contract extension from the organization’s board. 

The DIA board voted 8-0 on May 15 to extend Boyer’s contract by one year with an option for a one-year extension. The nine-member board has one vacancy. 

Board Chair Jim Citrano said that “notwithstanding perceptions,” the DIA had made significant progress under Boyer’s leadership. He also offered a personal anecdote in praising the effort Boyer puts into her role, describing what happened when he reluctantly decided to call her on a recent Sunday with a board-related question. 

“Not only was she working, but she was working in her office on a Sunday afternoon,” Citrano said. “It just goes to show her commitment. I’m fully supportive of giving her this extension.”

The board vote came on the heels of the first meeting of the Special Committee on the Future of Downtown, which was launched by Council President Ron Salem with a memo in which he described progress in Downtown redevelopment as “at best, debatable.” 

Council member Rory Diamond, the committee’s vice chair, said May 13 during the panel’s first meeting that he believed it should focus on determining whether the DIA should be shut down or, alternatively, given the independence and resources it needs to thrive.

Boyer, a former Council president, has been the DIA’s leader since 2019. In 2023, the DIA board extended her contract and set her salary at $221,550. 

The new contract extension sets the stage for the DIA board to begin looking for Boyer’s successor. 

Boyer told the Council committee that she had given the DIA board a two-year commitment that would include working for several months to onboard her replacement. 

The formation of the special committee comes at a time when several projects are in motion Downtown but others have fizzled. 

The Four Seasons Hotel & Residences is under construction Downtown south of EverBank Stadium along the St. Johns River.

Projects on the move include the $300 million-plus Four Seasons Hotel & Residences, marina support building and office complex near EverBank Stadium, the first phase of the $250 million One Riverside mixed-use development on the former site of The Florida Times-Union at 1 Riverside Ave., and the $96.9 million multifamily transit-oriented development on the Southbank, to name a few.

Other high-profile projects have failed to launch amid rising costs of construction and financing, including the American Lions high-rise tower planned for Riverfront Plaza, the Hardwick at Ford on Bay mixed-use project on the former site of the Duval County Courthouse, and the Laura Street Trio adaptive reuse project in the historic collection of buildings at Laura and Forsyth streets. 

In a presentation to the special committee about the DIA’s successes, failures and challenges, Boyer said the taxable value of Downtown properties had risen more than 100% since 2012 to a value of $2.49 billion in 2024. 

She said that in 2013, the year after the DIA was created, new private investment in Downtown amounted to $5.08 million, with most of that amount coming from a $3.5 million renovation for the JAX Chamber. Other projects included a $364,000 Family Dollar store and a $689,000 McDonald’s restaurant.

“I think things have changed a bit,” she said.

Boyer said 35 new retail businesses had opened Downtown in the past eight years and the Downtown residential population had more than doubled to 8,000 since the creation of the DIA.

In response to a question from DIA board member Michael Heavener, Boyer said more than $2 billion worth of Downtown projects are under construction today. 



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