Leveraging Partnerships to Deliver Innovative, Cost-Effective Solutions that Meet Multifamily Developer Needs


Kohler Sink

“Both of our brands pride ourselves on innovation. We’ll share what we’re doing with our planning, and Kohler will share what they’re doing with their products, and we’re meeting in the middle on design.”

In 2015, Paul DeFruscio, Senior VP of Asset at AVE, was managing multiple renovation projects across the residential real estate brand’s portfolio of nearly 2,000 units. “I was searching for supplier partners who could not only simplify the process, but align with our branding, values, and vision,” he says.  
DeFruscio approached Kohler, a global leader in kitchen and bath manufacturing, as he was always impressed by the brand’s quality and bold, simple design. “We want to be the best in multifamily, so it’s important to us to have the best products,” he says. “I was drawn to the clean, square look of Kohler’s faucets, as it complemented the design of our apartment sinks and showers.”
D.J. Johnson, National Sales Manager-Multifamily at Kohler, immediately recognized synergies between AVE and Kohler’s goals and values and knew they could do incredible things together. “In our conversations, the AVE team really prioritized brand – they saw it as a value-add, and that’s a company we want to partner with,” he shares. “We feel we have a powerful brand in plumbing, so it’s not just about selling a product for us. We want to be a part of everything from product specification to marketing and communications. That’s what makes a great partnership.”
Six years later, AVE has doubled its portfolio and Kohler remains it’s one-stop solution for the specification, purchasing, and support of the growing real estate brand’s kitchen and bath products. While DeFruscio cites quality and consistent pricing as major benefits of their partnership, it’s exceptional service that’s most important. “I’ve never had to worry about getting products on time for new projects, especially this past year with the shortages due to the pandemic,” he says. “And if we need to replace something, I know I’ll have a new part quickly, which in turn, sets us up to provide first-class service to our residents.”

AVE recently collaborated with Kohler on the construction of AVE Blue Bell, a state-of-the-art residential community in Suburban Philadelphia boasting 270 luxury apartments and 50,000 square feet of amenity space. “We’re all about the details, and it really elevates the design to have that consistency throughout where you have the same brand toilets, faucets, and hardware in both the units and amenity spaces,” explains DeFruscio. “Because of our long-standing partnership, we were able to achieve the quality we wanted at the best price.”
For Kohler, being part of the project from the very beginning sets them up to deliver the best service and pricing. “Then we can plan ahead and manage material demand through our distribution network to ensure delivery and budget,” explains Johnson, who adds that Kohler is dedicated to the multifamily space and has developed products in every category and price point to accommodate developers’ budgets.
Purchasing power also plays a role in cost effectiveness. “I think there is an overall misconception that luxury brands are too expensive, but when you’re purchasing for 13 properties, I can get that quality product at a better price,” explains DeFruscio.
Technology is driving AVE and Kohler’s collaboration meetings today and plans for future developments. “Both of our brands pride ourselves on innovation. We’ll share what we’re doing with our planning, and Kohler will share what they’re doing with their products, and we’re meeting in the middle on design.”

DeFruscio is most excited about Kohler’s new SmartHome technology for showers DTV Mode™. “This is technology that renters want today – young and old. It’s minimalist design and easy-to-use with push button controls and it syncs with the KOHLER Mode app and Bluetooth®,” says Johnson. “There’s a stigma that technology is crazy expensive, but we’re getting prices down, so it makes sense for penthouse and standard units alike. This is really going to be a differentiator between an apartment community and one without them across the street.” 

AVE is a division of Korman Communities, a fourth-generation, family-owned-and-operated real estate company with 100+ years of proven quality, integrity, and innovation.