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FORT WORTH-The Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council, recognizing the forces behind the city’s fast-paced development, last night toasted the region’s most influential industry drivers and roasted some of them in good-hearted fashion at its inaugural banquet.

“Vision and foresight are the qualities of any good developer,” Susan Halsey, the council’s chairwoman and partner with Jackson Walker LLP, told the 400 guests from all facets of the industry at the first “Roast and Toast” event, held at the Fort Worth Convention Center in the CBD. The Founders Award honored the late Cass O. Edwards II, who with his family formed Cassco Land Co. in 1954 to develop the 4,000-acre Edwards Ranch. More recently, the family donated the largest tract of land–186 acres–in the Southwest Freeway project area so the long-awaited road can become a reality.

The Cass Edwards family still holds about 850 acres of the original ranch, which has provided ground for developments like Hulen Mall and at least four residential communities. Scott Walker, vice president of Cassco Land Co. accepted the award on behalf of the family, which is continuing the development legacy with the balance of the land.

Development honors went to Fort Worth South, recognizing initiatives resulting in major capital investments from the five acute-care hospitals in its bounds; Texas Christian University-Berry Street Initiative for a revitalization project, now with its first street work done, and anchor GrandMarc at Westberry Place, a 620-unit project of Phoenix Property Co. from Dallas; Montgomery Plaza, an adaptive reuse with retail and residential by Dallas-based Weber & Co.; Texas & Pacific Lofts, a 136-unit project in the Lancaster Avenue Corridor; Trinity Bluff, another high-end, close-in, mixed use by Tom Struhs, Elizabeth Falconer and Rudy Renda; and Westworth Village, the mixed-use outcome to a redevelopment of a former US Air Force base.

The real estate council also feted Mayor Mike Moncrief, councilwoman Wendy Davis and community development manager Chris Maguire. “Without a forward-thinking mayor and city council, these projects would have never gotten off the ground,” Halsey stressed.

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