BOMA to stage biggest award bash ever in American arena
By Marilyn Bowden
The Building Owners & Managers Association of Greater Miami-Dade, popularly known as BOMA, has booked the American Airlines Arena for the 14th edition of its annual banquet and Office Building of the Year, or Toby, awards ceremony.
The March 30 event will include a silent auction, organizers say.
Last year's event, attended by about 650 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, was so crowded "we had to turn people away at the door," said past president Maxine Lopez, who will emcee this year's program with Daniel Calello.
This year, she said, the event begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and continues with a celebration around 9 p.m., immediately after the awards.
"Every year we try to raise the bar to make this the greatest real estate function in Miami," Ms. Lopez said. "We decided to have it on a Friday night because people want to celebrate, congratulate and give each other high-fives."
This year's theme, Ms. Lopez said, is "Miami in the year 2001 the buildings and the people who help to make Miami great."
The Toby awards program evaluates office buildings based on criteria established by the 50-year-old BOMA International, including operating and building standards, energy management and compliance with American with Disabilities Act regulations.
Management issues such as community involvement, personnel training, emergency preparedness and tenant and client relations are also taken into account.
Judges in training will be evaluating buildings this year, says Toby Chairman Ed Prelaz, though their scores won't count until they have a bit more experience.
"The judges' training program gives a lot more people the opportunity to get involved," he said, "and to see what makes a building excel."
This year, Mr. Prelaz said, 33 buildings have been entered. They will compete in 10 categories based on building size from under 100,000 square feet to more than a million or type, such as historical properties, corporate headquarters or suburban office parks.
Another set of awards honors engineers, building managers and associates.
Just added this year, says BOMA President John K. Scott, is a broker of the year award.
"This will bring in the leasing and marketing side of property management," he said, "which is an important part of the overall team."
Local Toby winners go on to contend in BOMA's regional and international competitions. After a 10-year hiatus, BOMA-Greater Miami members brought home two international awards in each of the past two years.
Another first, Mr. Prelaz said, is a silent auction benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami.
"We wanted to start giving back to the community," he said.
The auction will be run by the charity, he said. In addition, BOMA will present it with a check.
"We hope this will be a springboard to more events," Mr. Scott said. "We want to make this our charity."
President-elect Murray Greene, who will take office in January, said he looks forward to the biggest event yet.
BOMA's membership includes leasing professionals, engineers, medical office building administrators and firms that serve the commercial real estate industry as well as building owners and managers. The organization acts on an advocacy basis in local, state and federal government. It also offers members educational and designation programs.
Cost for the Toby Awards event is $95; $900 for a table of 10. Reservations are required.
Details: (305) 530-0083.