FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOMA INTERNATIONAL TESTIFIES BEFORE PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL ON SAFELY REOPENING WORKPLACES
President Henry Chamberlain Offers BOMA’s Support to Help the City Move Toward Recovery
(WASHINGTON, D.C.–March 26, 2021) The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International testified before the Philadelphia City Council’s Commerce and Economic Development Committee yesterday to express BOMA’s willingness to partner with the city on a safe reopening of workplaces. The testimony was part of a hearing held by the Commerce and Economic Development Committee to examine best practices and guidance for safely reopening the city of Philadelphia's workspaces, including office buildings, city buildings and other congregate settings not currently operating at pre-pandemic capacity.
Henry Chamberlain, president and chief operating officer of BOMA International, spoke on behalf of BOMA International and BOMA/Philadelphia during the hearing to relay the ongoing efforts commercial building owners and managers have made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to prioritize tenant health and safety. Chamberlain shared with Chairman Honorable Mark Squilla and members of the committee that BOMA and its members stand ready to support the city in facilitating a safe return to in-person workplaces. He cited that, while office building occupancy levels in central business districts have ranged from around 10 to 15 percent nationwide during the pandemic, the past several weeks have seen an encouraging lifting of workplace occupancy restrictions in major cities such as Boston, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Addressing the need for a return, Chamberlain pointed to the findings of the BOMA International COVID-19 Commercial Real Estate Impact Study, which revealed most tenants see their offices as being vital to their business success and that they have overwhelmingly approved of their property management team’s response to the pandemic.
“With very few exceptions, office buildings have never closed, and we continue to work with employers to create the conditions to bring tenants back and create the safe workplaces needed to reopen the economy gradually and safely. Restaurants, retail and public transportation all desperately need office workers to be in the office,” explained Chamberlain. “We have shown that with proper precautions and care, it is safe to return.”
Chamberlain reported that effective communication and signage; an enhanced focus on air quality and ventilation; robust janitorial services; and reconfiguring spaces to encourage social distancing are just a few of the safeguards property professionals are implementing to facilitate this transition. “These plans will change in the coming months as we gradually return to normal operations and we will modify them as conditions change; it is something property managers are uniquely skilled to accomplish,” he added.
Chamberlain’s testimony urged the committee to move forward with gradually reopening workplaces in Philadelphia, highlighting BOMA International and BOMA/Philadelphia’s readiness to support the city with the transition. “The country is beginning to return to in-person work and doing so safely with the safeguards we are taking and enforcing as the vaccines become more widely available. With schools reopening and buildings ready to welcome back tenants in a phased-in way, it is time,” he concluded.
Following the hearing, BOMA/Philadelphia Chair Steve Resinksi said, “As we continue to make strides towards a return to the office, BOMA/Philadelphia’s membership of local property professionals are incredibly grateful to have the support and guidance of BOMA International and the global network of members it represents. BOMA’s powerful voice reinforces that our buildings have made tremendous efforts and significant investments in order to provide a safe, healthy and productive environment for tenants as they return to the workplace.”
BOMA International’s leadership on managing commercial buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic dates back to January 2020, when the association published its first official guidance resource on the subject and launched the online BOMA International Coronavirus Resource Center. BOMA’s continued guidance, clear communication with members and expansive network of industry experts has positioned it as a valuable resource for public and private decision-makers at both the local and federal level. Visit www.boma.org/coronavirus for BOMA International’s latest guidance, research and thought leadership curated to help commercial real estate professionals prepare for a post-pandemic recovery.
About BOMA International
Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a federation of U.S. local associations and global affiliates. The leading trade association for commercial real estate professionals for more than 100 years, it represents the owners, managers, service providers and other property professionals of all commercial building types, including office, industrial, medical, corporate and mixed-use. BOMA International is the
partner individuals in the commercial real estate industry choose to maximize value for their careers, organizations and assets. Its mission is to advance a vibrant commercial real estate industry through advocacy, influence and knowledge. Learn more at www.boma.org
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