The FRA Lifetime Achievement Award is named after David E. Cardwell, Esquire, who represented the FRA and redevelopment interests all over Florida for over thirty years. It was given for the first time to him, posthumously, on October 14, 2010. He died on November 18, 2009 at the age of 56. This award will be given from time to time when it is decided by the FRA Board of Directors that someone achieved what David did: exceptional contributions to Florida redevelopment.
Mr. Cardwell was the Florida expert in redevelopment because he worked on almost every project or program, advising his clients on good practical redevelopment solutions. If you wanted the best, you got David to work on your issues. He used to say: do it right the first time, because often you don’t get a “do over”. He was brilliant, with a wonderful sense of humor and wit that made him beloved to so many who knew him. He genuinely valued and respected quality public service, and exemplified both.
He encouraged the creation of the Florida Downtown Development Association when Tax Increment Financing was just beginning to be a term used in Florida. David was one of the only people who knew and actually participated in the history of Tax Increment in Florida since 1969. He was the driving force who built redevelopment law and practice in Florida. The Florida Redevelopment Association, not to mention all the people that David worked with him on all the countless issues, deals, agreements, meetings and strategies, owe a tremendous debt to him, for selflessly sharing his knowledge, wisdom and valuable time. We will miss him always.