A Midwest Success: The Bank of America Plaza in St. Louis Exemplifies Excellence
By: Jessica Bates
“This building is its own little city,” says Amy Hanafin, vice president at JLL and general manager of the Bank of America Plaza in St. Louis. “It has a strong sense of community – and tenants can take care of just about everything without ever going outside.”
Last year was a banner year for the thriving vertical “city.” The 30-story, multi-tenant office building in downtown St. Louis has offered first-class amenities and attracted high-profile tenants for years, but, in 2017, they took a leap forward: They decided to apply for the BOMA 360 designation.
Originally built in 1982, the building underwent significant renovations when it changed ownership in 2010. Building tenants, which include professional services firm PwC and a prominent law firm in addition to the Bank of America offices, can take advantage of a full-service conference room that comfortably accommodates more than 200 people and a large in-house fitness center that includes personal trainers and exercise classes. The octagonal building offers unobstructed, panoramic views of the city skyline, including the famous Gateway Arch. Occupants can easily grab lunch at the popular in-house café or pick up essentials at the sundry shop.
Many of the tenant companies have strong philosophies of corporate philanthropy, so the building often hosts donation or blood drives. JLL also makes the property available as a community resource, frequently hosting meetings for the downtown St. Louis business partnership or serving as a training area for local first responders. Throughout the year, occupants gather for a wide variety of building events – from a holiday hot chocolate and cookie bar to an in-house farmer’s market. Hanafin credits both the building owners and her team for the success of the building. “We really support each other and take pride in what we do,” she says. Their wide range of amenities, tenant events, community outreach efforts and other initiatives were a good match for BOMA 360’s holistic, comprehensive approach.
And, the JLL team is always looking for new ways to improve. That’s why they decided to pursue the BOMA 360 designation, and it’s really paid off with some impressive results. “Between the time we started the BOMA 360 application process and now, our tenant satisfaction scores increased five percent,” Hanafin boasts. Much like the average building in the BOMA 360 Performance Program, Bank of America Plaza also outperforms the Kingsley IndexTM, the largest database of customer satisfaction benchmarking metrics available to the real estate industry. “Continuous improvement is always our goal, so we are very pleased,” she says.
Their BOMA 360 application process not only allowed them to hone their building operations, but also their team dynamic. “We already had high company standards, but putting together the application allowed us to review our processes in a truly comprehensive way,” Hanafin says. “It opened our eyes to how we can continue to improve in the building holistically.”
The application also gave the team a common goal to work towards—something Hanafin says made their “little city” even stronger. “Getting everyone involved in the process brought us into greater alignment,” she says. Like many other designees, JLL used the program as a way to educate employees about the work being done in the building and what the industry best practices are.
And they’re not done improving yet. Though they already benchmark energy and water, they recently signed up for BOMA International’s just-launched W2 Challenge, which asks buildings to track both water and waste consumption. They’ve already started working with their vendors and tenants to increase their landfill diversion rate. The JLL team is ahead of the curve—moving forward, all buildings applying for the BOMA 360 designation earn points on their application for participating in the W2 Challenge.
Hanafin took great pride in achieving the BOMA 360 designation and knows her tenants—and prospective tenants—will appreciate it, too. “Being third-party verified is important, but it’s not just any third party—it’s BOMA, the most recognized commercial real estate association out there,” she says. “BOMA 360 is the standard for exceptional operations and management, and now we can point to the designation as proof that we really are one of the best.”