BOMA Local History
2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of Denver Metro BOMA, the oldest commercial real estate association in the Denver area, and is one of the largest membership associations in the region representing over 90,000,000 square feet, nearly 80 percent, of Denver’s commercial real estate. BOMA provides information, advocacy and educational programs to building owners, managers, developers, leasing professionals, corporate facility managers, asset managers, and the providers of the products and services needed to operate commercial properties.
Many of the buildings people know well today looked vastly different in the early 20th century.
When Union Station first opened in 1881, it was a depot for more than 80 trains a day carrying families, merchants, laborers and business leaders. It was also the largest building in Denver. Following World War II, railroads gave way to cars, trucks and airplanes and in the not too distant past, Union Station often stood empty save for a few passengers awaiting the Amtrak train.
Today, Union Station is a regional transportation hub and the headquarters of Denver’s FasTracks light rail station, as well as a great place to dine, shop, and experience the flavor of Denver old and new.
DENVER METRO BOMA THROUGH THE DECADES
- The Denver Association of Building Owners and Managers was formed in affiliation with the National Association of Building Owners and Managers (NABOM). Many years later NABOM became BOMA International and the Denver local was renamed the Denver Metro Building Owners and Managers Association.
- First Executive was Andy Konersman (1933 – 1971) volunteer position
- Palmer Burch was BOMA President (1938/1939 and 1954) He was elected to the House of Representative’s and was an active member in providing legislative updates to the BOMA membership.
- Window air units were installed. Tenants would leave them on all night and the condensers blew on a regular basis.
- Central air systems were beginning to be installed in buildings. Building windows were made inoperable to keep the air balanced and temperature for constant within the buildings.
- Prior to the depression, most of the buildings were owner managed. IREM created the Accredited Management Organization that institutional investors looked for in a managing agent. Due to the geographic and transportation challenges, third party management started to become more common. Van Schaack and Fredrick Ross were the BIG management players at that time.
- Early Denver BOMA was a “good ole boys club” with no women allowed. Today, BOMA is proud to say that six of the last ten BOMA Presidents have been women. The Denver Metro BOMA membership base also places women in the majority.
- Monthly meetings were held at First National Bank Building, 17th and Welton, on the 26th floor.
- BOMA buildings placed stickers at their entrances designating them as BOMA member buildings.
- The first “paid” Executive was a retired Air Force Lt. General.
- Allied members were allowed to join BOMA for the first time and they were called “Supplier” members.
- First Trade Show held at the Petroleum Building. 12 Suppliers exhibited with only 7 attendees.
- Denver Metro BOMA hosted the BOMA National Convention in 1972 with over 1,200 attendees.
- “BOMettes” were established as women began to join BOMA. They wore member vests to separate themselves.
- BOMI Institute and CU kicked off the first ARP class in Denver. (Previous RPA designation name)
- Movie “Towering Inferno” created concern over high rise office buildings and fire safety needs. Tenants panicked and building codes were discussed at the State Legislature. Originally any buildings over 75 feet were required to install automatic sprinkler systems. After things settled down with the State and City code makers, older buildings were “Grandfathered” and did not have to convert.
- First woman executive was Sally Stern who went on to become an active Allied member.
- BOMA sponsored a horse for the Denver Mounted Patrol. The horses name was BOMA in bright yellow letters with blue background.
- First Member of the Year Award was presented to Ron Simpson, former Denver BOMA, and BOMA International President, as well as chair of the BOMI Institute.
- First female President, Bonnie Emge with Fuller, was elected in 1987.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. BOMA International immediately created the ADA Guidebook and the subsequent tenant guidebook, “Opening Doors” to help owners and managers comply with the new law.
- Denver Metro BOMA’s membership and influence in the community increased significantly.
- In 1999, the first Denver building, 555 17th Street (then known as Qwest Tower), won the BOMA International TOBY Award in the category of office buildings between 500,000 and One Million SF.
- Following 9/11, Denver Metro BOMA, BOMA International and its industry partners teamed up to form the Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REISAC), which provides bulletins on terrorist threats and related activities.
- In June of 2003, Denver BOMA, along with the FBI, Denver and surrounding city’s police, SWAT, OEM, fire, hazmat, EMS, the Red Cross and other first responders, held a disaster exercise in Republic Plaza with over 140 members as volunteer “victims.”
- BOMA Denver moved from the BOMA International South West Region to the Midwest Northern Region since Denver had more in common with the cities in that region.
- In 2007 BOMA International introduced the 7 Point Challenge to incentivize voluntary market-driven efforts among commercial real estate companies to reduce use of natural resources, non-renewable energy sources and waste production.
- Denver Metro BOMA, along with several partners, established the Watts to Water program, a metro-wide sustainability program dedicated to the reduction of energy and water consumption.
- In 2008, building managers and owners played an integral role in preparedness for and communications with first responders for the Democratic National convention held in Denver.
- Denver Metro BOMA hired a local public affairs firm and began aggressively advocating on behalf of building owners rights with the City of Denver and other surrounding jurisdictions.
- BOMA Denver created the Emerging Professionals Committee to address the needs of newer professionals in the CRE industry.
- The MOB (Medical Office Building) SIG was formed to meet the increasing needs of owners and managers of these buildings.
- The Denver area economy started to recover from the economic downturn and the office market began a robust expansion, with steadily declining vacancy, solid net absorption and a well-planned development pipeline.
- BOMA Denver partnered with the Denver City Energy Project to encourage benchmarking energy use and offer discounted education in sustainability.