Dallas Morning News

The developer of North Texas' most successful commercial real estate project and the founder of one of the area's top property brokerage firms were honored Wednesday night with membership in the local Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame.


Fehmi Karahan, developer of the $3 billion Legacy West project in Plano, and Holt Lunsford, CEO and founder of Holt Lunsford Commercial, both received the award from the North Texas Commercial Association of Real Estate Professionals.


The annual award has been presented since 1988 and has been given to industry leaders including Trammell Crow, Henry S. Miller Jr., John M. Stemmons Sr., Roger Staubach, Ross Perot Jr. and Gerald Hines.


Karahan is best known for starting construction in the 1990s on the Legacy Town Center development in Plano.


Five years ago, he began work on the 240-acre Legacy West project, which includes office campuses for Toyota, JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Mutual Insurance plus retail, hotel and apartment buildings.


"It was a spark that took off," Staubach said. "A lot of that has to do with the energy of Fehmi Karahan. It is just amazing what he has done in the period of time."


Karahan immigrated to the United States from Turkey almost 41 years ago to study business and go into real estate.


"Public speaking is not what I do best — I would rather build," Karahan said at the ceremony. "There is a tremendous amount of time, effort and teamwork that goes to develop successful projects like Legacy.


"I arrived in America with next to nothing," he said. "Who would have thought that this boy from Istanbul, Turkey, would be standing in front of this crowd?"