Excellence in the Heart of Texas

This is the fourth in a series of case studies illustrating how different property types can benefit from the BOMA 360 designation.

By: Jessica Bates

Managing a corporate facility might not seem that different than managing a multi-tenant office building, but CBRE’s Janet Shipley says there is one key difference that informs everything. Instead of balancing the needs of several occupant, the property team for a corporate facility can tailor their approach to a single tenant. “It’s an ongoing partnership, which means communication is key,” says Shipley, associate director and general manager at HESS Tower in Houston. “You have to be in sync with them in order to do your job well.”

Shipley and the members of her third-party property management team do their jobs very well, as evidenced by HESS Tower’s BOMA 360 designation. A description of the 29-story office building in the heart of downtown Houston reads like the ultimate office space wish list, with amenities such as an onsite chef and catering service, a coffee bar accessible only to building occupants and a high-end fitness center. HESS is far from the only energy company in Texas, which means there’s competition for talent. “We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to appeal to younger workers and help with our tenant’s recruitment efforts,” Shipley explains. Social events in the building often take advantage of its coveted downtown location; during the spring, for example, the building’s chef prepares special picnic lunches that are meant to be eaten in the nearby park.

The close communication between the property team and the HESS Corporation’s leadership ensures these touches match the company’s corporate culture and future plans. In fact, the CBRE team involves HESS in their budget planning to make sure there are no surprises. “It goes without saying that we are going to maintain the property at a high level no matter what, but we want the tenant to be comfortable with what we’re focusing on,” Shipley explains. “There’s no point spending time and money on something if it’s not on the tenant’s wish list.”

At the same time, the HESS team relies on CBRE to know what’s best for the building. Though the building includes several sophisticated sustainability features, such as a rainwater reclamation system and automatic daylighting controls, the CBRE engineering team did a comprehensive assessment of the building system that lead to a 12-percent reduction of energy use without sacrificing occupant comfort simply by more carefully timing when certain systems operated. The management team also renegotiated the tenant’s contract with the local utility company, saving them more than $100 thousand each year. “As with any business partnership, we want to continually demonstrate that we’re an asset to their bottom line,” says Shipley.

Achieving the BOMA 360 designation was another way the CBRE staff was able to demonstrate that they go above and beyond in their operation and management of the corporate facility. “BOMA 360 allowed us to essentially benchmark ourselves across the board and prove we are exceeding industry expectations,” explains Shipley. The submission process not only gave the team a chance to analyze their operational processes and look for additional opportunities to reduce costs, it also served as a team-building exercise that helped them work more cohesively. “It was a chance for us to recognize our individual strengths and how we all work together to achieve group goals,” Shipley says.

The process also served as important preparation for their next goal: The Outstanding Building of the Year® (TOBY®) Awards. Though they hadn’t initially budgeted to apply for the TOBY Awards, the team felt they were ready in large part as a result of their BOMA 360 success. “I am positive the TOBY process was easier because we’d already gone through the BOMA 360 designation,” says Shipley. “That preparation gave us an advantage, as well as the confidence that we could compete at the highest level.” Sure enough, the team saw TOBY success on their very first try, first winning at the local and regional level—then going on to claim the BOMA International TOBY Award in the Corporate Facility category at the annual conference this past June.

The team is still basking in the excitement of their big win. They’re currently displaying their local, regional and International TOBY Awards in the lobby along with a banner. “We love the buzz that comes from achievements like BOMA 360 and TOBY,” says Shipley. “It makes everyone feel good to know we’re among the very best.”