The Edwards family has made its mark on Orange County real estate, building and leasing so many theaters that the family operation, Edwards Theatres Circuit Inc., has become the largest movie house chain in the county.
At a Wednesday luncheon held at the Irvine Marriott, the family was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from UC Irvine's Graduate School of Management.
The family received an engraved crystal sphere recognizing achievements that have made an indelible mark on the county's real estate industry. James Edwards III, the company's chief executive officer, accepted the award along with Bernice Edwards, his mother and co-chair.
Left unmentioned were the company's "cash flow and net worth difficulties" that have led to legal disputes with three landlords over several theater closings. The company is trying to unload about 25 aging theaters that moviegoers are shunning in favor of flashier multiplexes.
Edwards, instead, spoke at the ceremony about his father's ability to get the best real estate deal by wearing down development executives at the Irvine Co. during late-night negotiations over land and leases.