ATLANTA — The business world knows him as J. Ronald Terwilliger, national managing partner of Trammell Crow Residential. Those who know him best say the initials "J.R." stand for "just relentless" for his tireless efforts not only on smart growth initiatives and affordable housing but also charity work.

A veteran of the Atlanta real estate industry since 1978, Terwilliger was awarded the coveted Frank Carter Community Achievement Award from the Atlanta chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead Thursday night. The award — named for Frank Carter, the founder of Atlanta-based commercial real estate firm Carter & Associates known for his business integrity — is given to an individual who has made the most outstanding contribution to the Atlanta community in development or a real estate related field.

"It’s been wonderful for my wife, Patricia, and I to be fortunate enough to have made some money and to have freed up some time to spend in charity work," said Terwilliger, a resident of the Atlanta community for 23 years.

Through a family foundation, he and his wife are engaged in a wide range of charities focusing on youth, religion, education, mental health and affordable housing.

Terwilliger, a ULI member for 25 years, serves on the international board for Habitat for Humanity. He is the incoming chairman of the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership and recently completed a two-year term as chairman of ULI. He also holds is a member of ULI's Board of Trustees and executive committee.

Several hundred members turned out for the gala event, which was originally scheduled for the evening of Sept. 11, the day the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists, killing nearly 4,000 people. By design, the 2001 Awards Dinner Program still had the date of Sept. 11 printed at the top to serve as a reminder of that fateful day.

Founded in 1936, ULI’s mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. In all, ULI Atlanta handed out five awards in four separate categories during Thursday night’s presentation. Here’s a look at the other four winners.

ULI Small-Scale Project of the Year: Awarded to the project in the metro Atlanta region with a development cost of less than $15 million that best exemplifies excellence in the full development process of a project

The winners: The Southern Dairies Building, developed by Raulet Properties and Smith Dalia Architects; and Olde Ivy at Vinings, developed by John Wieland Homes & Neighborhoods.

When Raulet Properties teamed up with Smith Dalia Architects to turn a nondescript complex in the Poncey-Highland area of Atlanta into a luxury loft office complex, the Southern Dairies Building was transformed. The project also served as a catalyst for the rebirth of the surrounding East Atlanta community. The vision was to create an office component in an area where industrial buildings, apartment homes, condominiums and bungalow homes already existed. The project has significantly influenced the revival to reinstate this historically mixed-use neighborhood to its true form.

Olde Ivy is a mixed-use community located just off Log Cabin Road in Vinings, an Atlanta suburb. The residential portion of the community includes a variety of unit types, ranging from condos to Georgetown-style loft townhomes. The residences range from 1,500 sq. ft. to 1,800 sq. ft. and include expansive loft spaces and oversized detached garages. The commercial space, which faces I-285 and Atlanta Road, features an urban storefront look with wide sidewalks and windows. The commercial space is more than 50% occupied by a variety of tenants.

ULI Large-Scale Project of the Year: Awarded to a project in the metro Atlanta region with a development cost of $15 million or more that best exemplifies excellence in the full development process of a project

Winner: The Biltmore Hotel, developed by the Novare Group

By the late 1990s, the hotel that had been built in Midtown Atlanta in 1924 was neglected. The Novare Group purchased the building in 1997 for $7 million and renovated it into 250,000 sq. ft. of high-tech office space. Novare preserved the neo-classical exterior architecture and restored the interior ballrooms. To complete the mix, Novare also acquired the adjacent Biltmore House in 1999, and sold the 66 condos for between $40,000 and $250,000 each. With a new façade and a revitalized inside, the Biltmore has sparked investment on every contiguous block, including offices, condos, apartments, retail stores, restaurants and even classrooms.

The Dan Sweat ULI Community Leadership Award: Awarded to a leader in the non-profit sector, or a public servant, who has made a significant contribution to promoting responsible land use in the metro Atlanta region

Winner: Susan Mendheim, president and CEO of Midtown Alliance

Mendheim, president of Midtown Alliance since 1982, is an Atlanta native who still works and resides in the neighborhood where she grew up. Under her guidance, Midtown, once a symbol of urban decay, has been dramatically transformed. Crucial to guiding the growth and development of Midtown has been Blueprint Midtown, conceived by Midtown Alliance and its board of directors in 1997. "It really does take a village, in this case a community," said Mendheim in accepting the award. "I practically know one or more person(s) at every table in here tonight who’ve been deeply involved in making my job a great joy and making Midtown a success."