City National Plaza: A Sustainability Superstar

By Tanner Johnston

This is the second in a series of articles exploring the six different categories in the updated BOMA 360 2.0 criteria for the BOMA 360 Performance Program.

It’s one thing to have a robust recycling program, celebrate Earth Day, encourage green cleaning or host wellness programs, but have you ever offered your tenants a “sound bath?” A commitment to sustainability and occupant wellness may be part of standard best practices in today’s commercial office market, but it’s safe to say that the team at City National Plaza in Los Angeles is going above and beyond.

The 2.6 million square foot office property is managed by CommonWealth Partners, which also owns the building in a joint venture with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). Richard Corey, general manager with CommonWealth Partners, says he and his team work hard to find creative ways to engage tenants, while also operating the property as efficiently as possible. For the sound bath, for example, a vendor transformed a conference room into a meditative space using immersive music and other sounds to help tenants relax. Special offerings like this are attention-getting, but the true point of pride for the CommonWealth Partners team is how well the building is managed and operated on a day-to-day basis. And, sustainability is woven throughout their operations, whether they are engaging tenants through environmentally themed events like “Waste Awareness Month” or offering green amenities like bike storage.

“This is part of why they chose to pursue the BOMA 360 Performance Program designation in 2016; sustainability is one of six categories of building operations and management evaluated by the program, and the designation demonstrates to stakeholders that City National Plaza is meeting industry best practices across the board.

“Everyone is vying for the same tenant in a market like downtown Los Angeles, and BOMA 360 plays a critical part in our efforts to show prospective tenants that their values and needs are in alignment with our operations,” says Corey. “Tenants want to know that their building team takes their work just as seriously as they do.”

As part of their commitment to sustainable operations, the building participated in BOMA International’s W2 Challenge, a two-year initiative designed to provide property teams with the tools they need to benchmark water consumption and waste output and implement best practices to improve performance. City National Plaza is also currently working toward meeting CommonWealth Partners’ 2020 performance targets in energy, water, waste and emissions. This is a portfolio-wide initiative that includes goals, such as maintaining an ENERGY STAR® score of 90 or higher, decreasing carbon emissions by 50 percent per square foot and ensuring all properties include at least 50 percent native or pollinator-friendly vegetation.

One reason Corey made the decision to renew their BOMA 360 designation in 2019 was to ensure they had a strong baseline to continue improving. “When thinking about improving sustainability through operations, what’s most important is leveraging all of the knowledge and insight your property management team possesses,” Corey says. “Renewing BOMA 360 isn’t just about ticking a box. Going through the application and then renewal process serves as a healthy reminder of what your building’s operations look like as a whole and creates a roadmap for fine-tuning your approach.” The recently launched BOMA 360 2.0 criteria update gives properties an even more comprehensive set of best practices to assess their efforts and identify new ways to improve performance.

The holistic nature of BOMA 360 meshes well with CommonWealth Partners’ approach; they believe that efficient, sustainable operations help their tenants feel good about coming to work every day, and they look for other opportunities to boost occupant well-being. With their property team working to minimize their environmental impact, City National Plaza’s tenants have one less thing to worry about— and maybe some extra time to relax in that sound bath.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2020 issue of BOMA Magazine.