A trusted reputation
KOSL Building remains stoic in its ability to adapt to market trends and changes, and its diverse portfolio has continued to demonstrate innovation and exquisite homebuilding
It has been three years since we spoke with KOSL Building (KOSL) to learn about the magnificent homes it builds for families across the Westchester County. This time, we catch up with Vice President Oran Ben-Simon to discuss how the business navigated the trials of the pandemic, and the plans ahead that will keep the KOSL name a homebuilding favorite. “We’ve noticed over the last two years that there’s been quite a change to the single-family home sector, as well as an influx of people into the market. For about seven years, most of our clients were international, ranging from Asia to South America and throughout Europe,” he begins. “However, about a year before the pandemic, our local base of clientele became more active.”
The influx of demand in conjunction with available properties has positively impacted the company’s project list, which now consists of only custom builds, as opposed to a mix of custom and Spec homes. “We have a healthy blend of people who are asking us to build for them on their sites, as well as those specifically interested in developing properties we already own. Currently, we are on track to do about eight homes this year, so we are very busy and thrilled with our growth trajectory,” he says.
“Overall, as unfortunate as it has been, the pandemic actually had a very positive impact on us. Of course, some jobs were closed temporarily for a while, but Bobby Ben-Simon, our President, and I were in the office every day, trying to figure out how to navigate the future of the business. There were a lot of active projects at the time, so we utilized the stagnant period to strategize; that actually brought us six months ahead simply by making sure that when things opened up again, we’d be ready to go, and that’s exactly what happened.”
KOSL also diligently planned to ensure it was prepared for the interference of longer lead times and volatile supply chain logistics by reconfiguring its development process. “Everything is in short supply, so we planned our projects in specific categories that are in sync with our existing and amended timelines. We were in constant co-ordination with our clients to ensure active projects continued to progress smoothly. Then, fast forward a little bit to when things began to open up again, and we took all the information that we had and completely re-oriented the structure of our process in order to remain proactive, not reactive.
“If I had two or three homes that needed a specific type of roofing, I would always over-order; that way we know we have the materials secured, reserve it at our storage sites, mitigating any surprises or delays. When we’re about to pour the foundation, we are already ordering the appliances, thinking it could take at least six months, sometimes up to a year or more. Then, if we do get it early, we have designated remote locations to store it, so when it’s time to get everything installed and on site, we have the materials prepared, keeping our clients on track.”
For years, KOSL has worked hard to establish its reputation for luxurious and top-quality homes, according to Oran, and the past two years, which have been overridden by Covid-19, have been no exception. As a result of mandatory remote working, it has become more convenient for clients to do their reconnaissance and due diligence from home. Rather than meet in person to plan and design, which can often be time consuming, KOSL offers a software package for customers to create their ideal home. “We have started to transition from traditional to more modern housing, but this isn’t limited to the building process. We’ve created a new software for clients to tailor their design themselves. It’s very difficult for many clients to visualise what kind of finishes they want, and this technology assists in that process. From floors plans and elevations to detailed millwork, we have created a user-friendly process for clients to use anywhere, anytime. For example, if they can’t decide between wood panelling or intricatemarble accent walls, we’re able to create different variations of renderings in real time, so they can seamlessly navigate between options to aid their decisions.”
As difficult as the last two years have been for businesses across the world, KOSL has found a way to make the consequences of the pandemic work in a productive manner. With the intention of creating an oasis for families, a KOSL home is equipped for a multi-dimensional lifestyle that accommodates the needs of every resident. “When we’re designing houses now, we understand that there is a new type of livability. Whether that means having two offices, instead of one, for people to work remotely more efficiently, enhanced smart home tech or outdoor amenities, we implement numerous features to create a well-rounded home,” he says.
The new luxury, as Oran continues to share, is not only about the extravagant finishes anymore; it’s about accommodation and convenience. “Because clients are in their homes now for longer periods of time, we want to make it so that the home is not just a space for the family, but more of an escape; it can balance every component of life: vacation, relaxation, family time and work. By doing that and implementing those different features, our clients really appreciate the possibilities that their homes open up to them in terms of a variety of lifestyles.”
Recent developments have included an 8500-square-foot modern farmhouse built with extravagant millwork, a variety of amenities, and smart home components. Another one is a 7000-square-foot Transitional French chateaux with stucco, expansive windows and slate roof. “These two homes will be built simultaneously for a group of friends that grew up together and were not really able to find the ideal property,” Oran shares. He adds that in a situation such as this, KOSL’s knack for identifying the perfect location is one of the reasons why clients turn to the business. “It’s difficult to find ideal properties that are precisely within their specifications, but our customers know that if KOSL owns it, it’s already a premium property, so they don’t have to worry about the site logistics or due diligence, and it becomes about focusing on the house,” Oran elaborates.
Meeting clients’ needs
Looking towards the future, Oran shares that clients can look forward to an expansion of KOSL’s catalogue that will support them from their first apartment through to their retirement. “I’m looking to create something called the ‘trifecta of living’, which consists of three types of residential sectors. In a nutshell, there will be multi-family apartments for the younger generations, then the single-family homes, and then older lifestyles for senior housing.
“We already have an established footprint for single family homes, so about four years ago, I began working on the first addition to our portfolio expansion, transitional senior housing. We are working together with several prestigious operators throughout the country to develop a new age of senior living residencies.
“Senior housing is segmented into various care sectors, ranging from nursing homes to independent living. Unfortunately, many seniors quickly outgrow the care they need and must find new facilities that can adequately service them. We focus specifically on integrating multiple levels of care varying from Independent living to Assisted Living and Memory Care to permit an efficient and sustainable lifestyle. Additionally, our planning includes several preemptive measures and enhanced safety protocols to facilitate a safe environment for current and incoming generations,” he says.
Within the next five years, KOSL intends on establishing the first trifecta. “We have a vision to start with young clients who, for example, have just graduated from college, and are about to move into a KOSL apartment that provides them with the ultimate independence. Once they’re ready to raise a family, they’ll transition into a KOSL custom home, and then when they’re ready to retire, they can move into a KOSL Senior Living Residency. I’m ambitiously passionate about this vision, for we are seeking to facilitate our client’s residential needs indefinitely,” Oran shares. Although it is a high-level goal for the company, the planning is already underway, and Oran and his team are determined to take on the challenge to continue the growing success of the KOSL name.
Services: Luxury home builders