Future Downtown Investment Authority CEO: ‘It's going to be really exciting in the next 3 years'

Future Downtown Investment Authority CEO: ‘It's going to be really exciting in the next 3 years'

The future CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority sat down with Action News Jax to talk about her vision for Jacksonville’s urban core.

“I think it’s going to be really exciting in the next three years,” said City Councilwoman Lori Boyer.

Boyer will take over as CEO in July, but she’s already making big plans.

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“Our downtown had been hit hard by the recession. We are in a completely different time frame right now and there is great momentum,” said Boyer.

Boyer said the key to downtown’s momentum right off the bat is recruiting more residential development.

“You will have support for the retail establishments, the restaurants, the entertainment facilities. They’ll be there if they’ve got people to go to them. You don’t get the grocery store to move in, you don’t get the pharmacy to move in, unless there are residents,” said Boyer.

As demolition crews turn the old courthouse into rubble, across the street, the site of the old City Hall annex that was imploded in January has already been transformed into green space.

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The city is accepting bids for mixed-use development there.

Demolition is the fate of the Jacksonville Landing, too.

“I think it’s critically important that we open up Laura Street to the river and that we expand the Riverwalk area that is available. It’s very tight right now and too constrained,” said Boyer.

Boyer wants to transform the Landing property into a park with private development of the two pads behind it.

Boyer said moving the Shipyards and Lot J projects forward will also be crucial.

She said a riverfront light and sound show and livestream projections of performances in the Times-Union Center that Action News Jax reported on last year are both moving forward too.