FIRM NEWS: Miami DDA Appoints Three New Members to Board of Directors

November 15, 2021

As Downtown Miami experiences a surge of new residents, visitors, businesses, and investment, the agency charged with spearheading the neighborhood’s growth is welcoming three new members to its board of directors.

The Heat Group’s Jarred Diamond, Arva Suzanne Graham Gibson of Arva.G Historical Consulting & Concepting, and Melissa Tapanes Llahues of Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes PLLC, recently were appointed to the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board.

The three were initially selected by a nominating committee comprised of Miami DDA board members who reviewed applications from dozens of candidates. The committee’s nominations were then approved by the DDA’s full board of directors and subsequently accepted by the City of Miami Commission.

The Miami DDA Board of Directors is comprised of 15 business owners, property owners, stakeholders, and public appointees who live and work in Downtown Miami. Board members play a hands-on role in governing the Miami DDA, advocating for smart urban policies, and leading business development and marketing initiatives that support the Miami DDA’s mission.

“We are so proud of Downtown Miami’s economic growth, and especially our rapid recovery amid the pandemic,” said Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes, who also serves as chair of the Miami DDA. “From initiatives like Follow the Sun, which provides incentives to companies expanding or relocating to our district, to the Flagler Street Beautification project that will restore our city’s Main Street, we have initiatives underway that will transform Downtown Miami for generations to come.

“The latest additions to our board of directors are influential leaders who care deeply about our community and will help develop and execute strategies that will continue making downtown Miami a great place to live, work, and play,” Reyes said.

Jarred Diamond is executive vice president, general manager of FTX Arena for The Heat Group. In his current role, Diamond oversees Heat Group Enterprises — the programming and marketing arm of the FTX Arena responsible for booking first-rate concerts and family shows — as well as running the day-to-day operations and ensuring the facility retains its status as Florida’s premier venue. Diamond also serves as a board member of the Florida Sports Foundation.

Arva Suzanne Graham Gibson of Arva.G Historical Consulting & Concepting is a third-generation Miamian, bringing a deep understanding of Miami’s history of progress. She has extensive non-profit experience and a sophisticated understanding of Florida and Miami history and culture. Currently, Gibson sits on the executive committee and board of directors for Dade Heritage Trust as well as the board of directors of The Graham Companies. For the past seven years, Arva Suzanne has resided within Miami DDA boundaries, has been a consistent contributor to DDA’s mission and activations while sharing DDA’s passion and vision for increased growth and shared sense of community.

For almost two decades, Melissa Tapanes Llahues has worked at one of Downtown Miami’s pre-eminent land use, zoning and environmental boutique law firms, Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes PLLC, where she rose from a summer law clerk to name partner. A native Miamian, Tapanes Llahues enjoys mentoring and serving the community through pro bono work in causes related to education, economic development, and place-making. She recently served on the City of Miami’s Miami 21 Report Ad Hoc Task Force where she was elected chair by her peers to lead in the review of the Miami 21 Zoning Code. She is the immediate past chair of the Florida International University President’s Council, a trustee of the Builders Association of South Florida, and served on the board of the Latin Builders Association for over a decade.

The Miami DDA is an independent agency of the City of Miami funded by a special tax levy on properties in its district boundaries. It is governed by a 15-member board comprised of three public appointees and 12 downtown property owners, residents and/or workers who are tasked with overseeing the direction of the agency and setting policy.

The agency is committed to grow, strengthen, and promote the economic health and vitality of Downtown Miami. As an autonomous agency of the City of Miami, the Miami DDA advocates, facilitates, plans, and executes business development, planning and capital improvements, and marketing and communication strategies.

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Published on November 8, 2021 on

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