In 1904 a small group of Minneapolis real estate owners began getting together to share information and encourage professionalism among their ranks. “Networking” we would call it today. Their meetings evolved into what is today the Greater Minneapolis Building Owners and Managers Association.
James Porteous, manager of the Lumber Exchange Building, was our first president.
We are the second oldest BOMA in the country, next to BOMA Chicago.
In 1907 we joined a handful of other BOMAs around the country to help found BOMA International, which now offers the strength, experience, and resources of more than 100 other BOMAs and their 19,000 members from around the world.
The first recorded instance of our members’ activism on tax policy was in 1922 when each member was urged to write a letter to the City Assessor requesting that he remove a 20% arbitrary increase on improved property that had been put into effect in 1920.
In 1966, however, BOMA advocated for a tax increase! That year, the School Board raised the ire of some of the city’s residents by proposing the increase. BOMA supported it. “The 16-mill increase,” BOMA’s Board said, “is shocking upon first thought, but when the components of that increase are examined, it is not shocking, and seems necessary to sustain the present school system and to permit a growing improvement in such system. The public image of Minneapolis must be maintained in regard to adequate educational facilities and a favorable tax climate.”
Not all issues on which BOMA Greater Minneapolis has taken a position are as weighty as the tax issues. In a 1964 interview, BOMA’s then executive director, Carl Elmquist, noted that one of the most memorable issues he’d helped resolve for BOMA members was when he helped negotiate the abolition of spittoons from office buildings. “The janitors said the spittoons were too messy,” he said, “and they were right.”
As one of the founding organizations of BOMA International, BOMA Greater Minneapolis has always been a strong supporter, having hosted BOMA International conventions in 1920, 1961 and 1997. Two BOMA Greater Minneapolis members have generously dedicated time to serve as International presidents, Ken Jensen (1971-1973) and John Kelly (2003-2004).