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  • Maher (second from left), has led the Civic Design center since 2001

Charleston Civic Design Center Director Michael Maher came very close to getting a big job in the Sunshine State.

In April, Maher was named one of eight finalists for CEO for Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority, a downtown revitalization project in Florida’s biggest city. Last month, he was one of three candidates still being considered for the position — which made him all the more desirable for City of Charleston officials looking for a leader for its Horizon Project.

As The Post and Courier first reported on Tuesday, Maher decided to withdraw his name from the Jacksonville job, electing to stay in Charleston and head up the Horizon Project instead.

The $1 billion project, which was first established in 2008, was put on hold when the economy dipped that year. It started moving forward again earlier this year. Last month, the Horizon Project Foundation, made up of officials from the City of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, chose the Atlanta-based Gateway Development Services Inc. as its developer. According to the P&C, Maher headed up that committee.

Maher, who has led the Civic Design Center since 2001, told the Jacksonville Business Journal:

I think it’s fair to say when the Horizon board and others learned of Jacksonville’s interest in me, in my interviews, that they moved aggressively to try to keep me.

Maher will start his new CEO job by the end of the year, the P&C reports.