TOBY History

The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY®)

The Office Building of the Year (TOBY®) Award was created in 1985 to salute excellence in the office building industry. The TOBY® Awards has grown from a modest beginning into a notable and prestigious program that now recognizes more than just office buildings. As a result, its name has changed in 2010 to The Outstanding Building of the Year. More than 25 years later, it remains the most prestigious and highly celebrated program of its kind in commercial real estate, recognizing quality in commercial real estate buildings and rewarding excellence in building management.

The TOBY Awards program recognizes buildings at the local association, regional conference and international levels.
The first TOBY competition consisted of 23 regional entries in four categories: Under 100,000 Square Feet; 100,000-500,000 Square Feet; Over 500,000 Square Feet; and Historical Buildings. In 1989, two categories were added, Corporate Headquarters Facilities and Rehabilitated/ Modernized Buildings, and regional participation grew to 37 entries.

From 1985 to 1995, the Awards program also encompassed a Member of the Year and Association of the Year Award. Beginning in 1996, the Member of the Year Award was re-formatted as a Regional Member Award, and the Association of the Year Award was reformulated as the Association Cornerstone of Excellence (ACE) Award and is no longer included a part of the TOBY Awards program. Beginning in 2006, local associations are now recognized for their best practices.

The ninth and eleventh years of the TOBY Awards program were milestones, with 68 and 66 buildings competing for the International Award-the most we'd had up to that point. The ninth year also marked the addition of another category, as the 100,000-500,000 Square Foot Category was divided into 100,000-249,999 Square Feet and 250,000-500,000 Square Feet.

As the program expanded more categories were added throughout the years. In 1998, renovated buildings category was added. In 2000, the Over 1 Million Square Feet category was added and in 2001, the Suburban Office Park (Low-rise) and Suburban Office Park (Mid-rise) were added. Continuing its push to include all buildings in the commercial real estate industry, in 2002 the Industrial Office Park category was added. In an effort to incorporate the need for buildings to be energy efficient and “green”, the program the added the Earth Awards to its already highly respected program.

2010 became a record year for the TOBY® program with 94 regional entries competing in 14 different categories for the International competition.

Involvement in the TOBY program has more than tripled since its introduction and has enjoyed participation from a wide group of BOMA members. More than 700 buildings have been recognized as Regional winners and more than 200 of those have been recognized as International winners. The resulting press coverage and public relations opportunities have been nothing short of spectacular for the participating teams and their cities. The TOBY Awards have drawn attention to hundreds of office buildings across the United States and Canada, and to the owners, managers and architects who conceive, operate and design them.

BOMA International invites you to join this distinguished list of winning buildings by participating in the Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY®) Awards competition.

For more information on the history of the TOBY® Awards, please contact BOMA International's Association Services Department at (202) 326-6361.

Information provided by BOMA International.