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GSA Wins "TOBY" Awards for Real Estate Excellence

GSA # 9332

June 27, 1996
Contact: Johanna Roark
(202) 501-0977 or 501-0705


For the first time in the agency's history, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has won two of The Office Building of the Year -- TOBY -- Awards, one in the Historic Building Category, and one in the Government Building Category. These awards are presented annually by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).

David J. Barram, acting GSA Administrator, said, "Winning these awards is particularly noteworthy because of the recognition of excellence from our public and private sector real estate colleagues. This also marks, the first time GSA has ever won in the Historic Building Category, and the first time GSA has ever received more than one award."

The TOBY Award was created in 1985 to honor excellence in the office building industry. It remains the most prestigious and comprehensive program of its kind in commercial real estate, recognizing quality in office buildings and awarding excellence in office building management.

The two GSA buildings receiving the TOBY were the Robert A. Young Federal Building in St. Louis, MO, for International Building of the Year in the Government Building Category, and the Jacob Weinberger U.S. Courthouse in San Diego, CA, for Building of the Year in the Historic Building Category.

Designed by Preston Bradshaw, the Young Federal Building was constructed in 1931. An expansive one million square feet of office space is provided inside the concrete and steel structure, with classic brownstone brick facade complimented by terra cotta ornamentation.

Its significant architectural mass projects from street level and crests in a tower reaching 20 stories into the St. Louis skyline. The building was designed to represent the strength and longevity of the U.S. Government. Nearly 100,000 square feet are provided on each of the lower floors, offering flexibility rarely found in a downtown office structure, and tenants are treated to spectacular views through the tripartite plate fixed windows.

The entrance arcade is carved from the sloping grade at Spruce and Tucker Streets. The 20-foot archways invite guests into the illuminated vestibule where the building's original warehouse facility has been renovated into a new state-of-the-art environment.

An architectural treasure, which 65 years ago offered innovative space with display, office, dining, and fitness facilities, has risen again to offer the same amenities, and more, updated three generations later. The Robert A. Young Federal Building is one of the midwestern flagships of the GSA, where the potential of yesterday provides the foundation for the use and technology of tomorrow.

The Weinberger Courthouse in San Diego was built in 1913 as a U.S. Post Office and Customs House and designed to acknowledge the Hispanic influences inherent in the region's history. The exterior architectural style blends the Classical and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, with Classical proportions and columns, and Spanish arches, terra cotta detailing, stucco walls, and a hipped, decorative red tile roof. It is three stories high with basement and attic spaces.

The building's first level was originally the Post Office. In the public lobby, the historic finishes of terrazzo and marble floors, marble and plaster walls, coffered plaster ceilings, and ornamental ironwork have been restored to their original condition, replicated, or interpreted where necessary. This floor now houses two courtrooms, judges' chambers, and their ancillary functions and public transaction counters.

On the second and third levels, the original public corridor finishes of terrazzo and marble floors, plaster walls, and coved ceilings have been restored to original condition or newly built to match the original. The original courtroom has been restored on the second floor, and a new courtroom has been built on the third floor. These floors also house judges' chambers and their ancillary functions.

The lower, or "basement" floor, and the fourth, or "attic" floor, are currently used for storage, file space, and office support space. The fourth floor potentially could be reconfigured into another courtroom. These floors were completely renovated but were reconfigured to provide for modern use, designed in keeping with the original character of the building.

The awards were presented to GSA representatives on Sunday, June 23rd, during BOMA's conference in Boston, attended by 1,000 real estate and facilities professionals. Louis Vetere, St. Louis Property Management Center Director, and Tim Pfohl, Business Development Specialist, Heartland Region, accepted the award for the Young Federal Building. Kenn Kojima, Regional Administrator, Pacific Rim Region, and Paul Hamilton, San Diego Property Management Center Director, accepted the award for the Weinberger Building.