Canadian owners and managers can once again claim title to The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) in an international forum. Three Toronto properties are among winners in 16 categories announced in the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International’s 2020 virtual awards ceremony yesterday.
MaRS West Tower, a 780,000-square-foot venue for research, innovation and STEM networking that has been key to Toronto’s emergence as a global technology hot spot, earns 2020 TOBY International acclaim in the mixed-use building category. The LEED Gold tower draws ambitious and high-calibre players driving the transition to a low-carbon economy to its office, laboratory, meeting and event space. The BOMA International honours go to the owner, MaRS Phase II Investment Trust Inc., and the manager, MaRS Real Estate.
One of Canada’s longest standing and most modern enclosed super-regional malls, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, is the TOBY recipient in the retail category. Now encompassing 1.85 million square feet of leasable space, the facility has been evolving with the times since first opening in 1964 — currently as an early adopter of experiential retail, digital applications for shoppers and efforts to forge a bricks-and-mortar presence for e-commerce activity. The TOBY is bestowed to joint owners, Oxford Properties Group and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), and the manager, Oxford Properties Group.
Perhaps hovering somewhat under the radar as a 53-year-old, Class B office building in Toronto’s midtown market, 95 St. Clair West has leveraged strong environmental performance, tenant services and low vacancy into the International TOBY in the 250,000 to 499,999 square-foot category. The 16-storey tower boasts BOMA BEST Platinum certification, Gold level for 3R Certified Recycling, Energy Star certification for green power and a Wired Score of 91. The TOBY goes to the owner, Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, and manager, Colliers International.
The three buildings were honoured with Canadian national TOBYs at BOMA Canada’s annual exposition and conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, in September 2019, and were previously BOMA Toronto TOBY winners. Judging in all cases is based on criteria that includes community impact, tenant and employee relations programs, energy management, accessibility, emergency evacuation procedures, building personnel training programs and overall quality indicators. A team of industry experts also conducts comprehensive on-site inspections as part of the evaluation process.