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50 Years of the DDA

Celebrating 50 Years of the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority


The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is an dependent taxing authority. It was created in 1971 at the request and unanimous vote of the merchants and property owners in downtown at that time to establish a governing body of Downtown to increase the parking and commerce for the district.. The Florida State Legislature passed a law (House Bill 1250, which was reviewed and codified in 2003 as House Bill 2003-314) establishing the DDA and authorized that 1 MIL of its property value be taxed to fund redevelopment and promotional efforts in the DDA District.

The original District mirrored the City CBD Map (Central Business District) at the time, including businesses from Swinton Avenue to the Intracoastal Waterway. In 1993, the DDA boundaries were expanded eastward to include properties along Atlantic Avenue to A1A and north and south blocks along the original CBD area. The DDA boundaries expanded again in 1998 to the west from Swinton Avenue to I-95 to include the newly designated West Atlantic Redevelopment Area.

The DDA has played a vital role in the transformation of the Downtown with the reinvestment of the tax dollars back into the downtown in various ways, including the creation of the public parking lots for customers and employees, the creation of In Lieu Parking, the Downtown bypass for trucks, beautification programs, marketing materials, the DowntownDelrayBeach.com website, merchant promotions, tourism efforts, economic development through creating a Marketing Cluster Study of diverse areas within the DDA District, and by helping facilitate the Clean & Safe Program with the Police Department, CRA, and the City.

In the early 90's, an overall vision was outlined to include four basic parts of the redevelopment plan that could be accomplished over a 20 year period by using special events to bring people back to Downtown. This was done by enticing the best restaurants to open, encouraging shopping to stay Downtown, working to establish housing Downtown to support the demand created by visitors and family, and to support and promote the retail component of the many small shops. This vision includes the marketing efforts encompassing the Cluster Study which highlights the eight separate clusters of business types within the DDA District.

Today, the DDA continues to serve all of the other organizations within the City, but is the only organization with separate funding from the property owners/businesses responsible for the specific downtown District's success.

Our mission is to grow, strengthen, and enhance the economic vitality of Downtown Delray Beach. As an autonomous agency of the City, the Delray Beach DDA advocates, facilitates, plans, and executes business development, fosters business relations, helps with the planning of capital improvements, and markets the downtown district. We commit to fulfill our mission collaboratively, ethically, and professionally, consistent with the DDA's public purpose.


On May 22, 2021, the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority will celebrate its 50th year in existence of governance and reinvestment into the development of Downtown Delray Beach. These decades of work and contributions by the many property owners, merchants and residents is significant and should not go unrecognized. The DDA team has prepared a programs and events to help celebrate this historic event and share the history of Downtown Delray Beach. 

Program overview:

As the organization’s mission is to drive the economic vitality for the Downtown and as we recognize the DDA in the middle of a pandemic, it is even more important for us to use this time to showcase the downtown and rebound the community as we turn 50 in May and then throughout the summer months.  We are going back to where we were in the 90’s and have a kick off celebration and mini summer celebrations throughout the different neighborhoods of the district. Stay tuned for more details to come.  

We invite those who love Downtown and have been part of the development to partner with us through sponsorship opportunities. Please contact Laura Simon at Lsimon@downtowndelraybeach.com



DDA 50th Anniversary Celebrations

House Bill 299
Legacy Businesses