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KOVA Partners Celebrates Successful Merger in Southwest Florida KOVA Partners Celebrates Successful Merger in Southwest Florida
You don’t have to be a real estate professional to know that there’s much more to owning and managing commercial property than collecting rents... KOVA Partners Celebrates Successful Merger in Southwest Florida

You don’t have to be a real estate professional to know that there’s much more to owning and managing commercial property than collecting rents and changing light bulbs. But even the most seasoned investors sometimes need expert advice and assistance in order to maximize their profits and reduce their risk. That’s why many owners and investors in Southwest Florida are turning to KOVA Partners, LLC, for professional real estate asset management.
Led by industry veterans Chip Olson and Anthony Emma, Naples-based KOVA Partners is a fully integrated, full-service, commercial real estate firm serving clients in Florida and beyond.
“We take the same approach that a wealth management firm would take in managing assets, but with real estate holdings,” says Emma, CEO and managing member of the KOVA family of companies. “We’re truly a boutique asset manager.”
There are actually three different entities under the KOVA banner: KOVA Commercial, KOVA Property Management and KOVA Facilities. Collectively, they offer comprehensive brokerage, property management and capital investment services, all of which are designed to maximize their clients’ investment returns. Among their services:
•Sales & Leasing
•Property Management
•Asset Management
•Real Estate Accounting
•Facilities Management
•Project/Construction Coordination
•Development Consulting
Joining Forces
Although the company name is relatively new to Southwest Florida, the partners behind it are not. Emma has owned a home in Naples since 1995. Until recently, he split his time between Naples and Rhode Island, where he was CEO of Insignia Real Estate Companies, a private real estate and investment fund management company. But with a growing book of business in Southwest Florida and the formation of KOVA last September, Emma is now a full-time Naples resident.
Olson, on the other hand, is quite well known in Southwest Florida. Before he was a principal and managing broker of KOVA Commercial, Olson owned and operated Colonial Square Realty and Management Group in Naples and Fort Myers for almost 25 years. Personally and professionally, he is deeply invested in the community. In addition to being a supporter of local youth soccer, Olson is active in the Optimist Club and serves on the boards of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, as well as several Community Development Districts in Collier County.
Olson met Emma in the course of managing one of Insignia’s office properties, and the two hit it off. Although he wasn’t planning to sell or merge his company at that time, Olson admits he’d been looking for someone “to complement what I do and bring in another level of service to the area. Anthony brought in an element of national sophistication that appealed to me,” he says. “Also, to make our company grow with the changing industry, we needed to have (Anthony’s) expertise. I felt we’d be a good team.”
Emma had similar plans for corporate growth and sought to align himself with a management firm that was respected and connected in the local marketplace. “(With Colonial Square), Chip had built a tremendous foundation,” says Emma. “That synergy compounded with my long-term aspirations fit my idea perfectly of what would make a good partnership.”
Management Plus
Since merging last September, the partners have continued to capitalize on their individual strengths while building their business model, which services and manages essentially all commercial property types. In Southwest Florida, KOVA manages more than 60 commercial properties totaling approximately three million square feet. Most are office and retail properties, although the firm also manages mixed-use and industrial space, and has a specialty division that manages marinas.
According to Emma, KOVA’s approach to property and asset management transcends traditional maintenance and repair, focusing as much on the fiscal aspects of ownership as the physical ones. “They go hand in hand; you can’t do one without the other,” says Emma. “It’s like wealth management. You can’t trade someone’s stock without having an overall understanding of the client’s portfolio and their short- or long-term goals. That’s really not catering to their needs.”
At KOVA, teams of consultants and specialists in finance and wealth management, property management, construction and development are readily available to assist a diverse local, national and international clientele. Clients include condo associations, individual property owners, institutional investors, high net worth individuals and private equity partnerships. “Our goal is to maximize the potential of each real estate asset individually,” says Emma. “When we look at a real estate portfolio, we evaluate how to strategically position the asset to help the client achieve maximum growth and income.”
Structured for Success
When it comes to asset management, Olson says that KOVA’s innovative structure gives it a uniquely competitive edge. “Historically in our industry, there’s been no integration of brokerage, management and facilities. But because KOVA is a fully integrated real estate operating company, our brokerage and property management teams work closely together,” enhancing occupancy and stability. Being fully integrated also allows the firm to deliver what clients want most: properties that are well maintained at a reasonable cost.
To ensure as much, Olson meets regularly with KOVA’s property management team to understand the financial goals of the tenants and to discuss what types of businesses would blend best with the existing tenants. “Everyone benefits when new tenants complement the current ones,” he says. “The right tenant mix helps strengthen the existing businesses in our retail and office buildings, which enhances the client’s asset as well.”
Size also benefits KOVA’s clients. The company’s large management portfolio makes “service providers and vendors want to compete for our business,” says Emma. “That gives us leverage in negotiating for products and services on behalf of our clients,” often resulting in substantial savings in operating expenses and increased profitability.
“We treat our vendors and service providers as an extension of our firm, quantifying and qualifying those companies so they compete on a level playing field,” Emma adds. “In providing a competitive atmosphere, we can manage budgets and lower common area maintenance, which for new prospective tenants gives our portfolio a more competitive edge in the marketplace.”
KOVA’s integrated financial reporting and management control system also helps lower costs and boost efficiency. In the last year, Olson says the company has made a “significant investment” in its IT capabilities, including advanced software. Besides enabling KOVA to monitor properties on a 24-hour basis, the state-of-the-art technology facilitates financial reporting and provides a single point of contact for services ranging from routine maintenance to emergency repairs.
Recognizing that every client has different needs, KOVA tailors its services and systems according to their unique requirements. For example, real estate accounting systems are customized to include only those services the client specifies. Services range from preparing and delivering financial reports and invoices to working with financial and estate planners, maintaining fiscal budgets, preparing variance reports and reconciling checking accounts.
Clients may also specify how much and how often they want to hear from KOVA. While some prefer monthly reports, others would rather receive quarterly, semi-annual or annual reports.
Strategic Investment Partnerships
There’s more to being fully integrated than simply buying and selling assets, as KOVA’s principals will attest. “Our team provides significant expertise in consulting, acquisition and development of real estate, as well as a clear understanding of when and how to position assets,” says Emma.
It helps to stay ahead of the market curve. To do so, KOVA’s key team members meet weekly to review new projects and strategize about new assets or potential investment opportunities on the horizon. “That’s critically important to our clients or partners who may be considering purchasing, repositioning or disposing of assets. We want to be at the forefront to assist in those decisions.”
In assessing new assets, KOVA utilizes a seven-step process: due diligence, acquisition and positioning, cash flow analysis, marketing, improving and managing, hold period and disposition. “Each and every stage is critical to the success of the asset,” he adds.
Being invested in projects with its clients and partners also bolsters the credibility and integrity of what KOVA offers. That’s attractive to fellow investors such as Bobby Sullivan, a principal of Halstatt Real Estate Partners in Naples.
“KOVA has shown a willingness to invest money in projects alongside ours. That appeals to me for the simple reason that they’re willing to take some risk in addition to just getting paid monthly for management and oversight work,” says Sullivan. “Having a vested interest shows commitment.”
Sullivan explained that Halstatt invests in value-add properties statewide, including distressed residential and underutilized commercial office buildings, shopping centers and apartment buildings, to name a few. Typically, it buys, holds and improves properties with the goal of selling within three to seven years.
“When we buy real estate assets, we find best-in-class managers and operators to help us manage and stabilize them, and oversee any capital improvements,” says Sullivan, who first hired Olson in 2012 to manage the Regions Bank Building in Naples. Today, KOVA is one of Sullivan’s preferred managers of Halstatt’s west coast properties.
“(KOVA has) a deep knowledge base when it comes to addressing the different asset management issues that come with buying real estate in Southwest Florida,” says Sullivan. “I know they can handle whatever issues arise, whether they involve banking relationships, vendor relationships or tenant-broker relationships.”
In addition to the Regions Bank building, KOVA manages a holding portfolio for Halstatt, comprising three commercial buildings totaling 100,000sf of retail and office space in Lee and Collier counties. KOVA is also helping to reposition the assets by overseeing interior improvements, which Sullivan says are designed to make the properties more attractive to tenants. “There’s a lot to working with architects, engineers and contractors, so that’s an additional level of expertise and professionalism that they’re bringing to our investment,” he notes.
Sullivan says he’s impressed that KOVA’s principals are so engaged in daily operations and communicative with clients. “That’s very important to me,” he says, adding that their financial and operations reports are impeccably prepared. “We hope that the relationship grows and look forward to working with them in the future.”
With their first year in business behind them, Emma and Olson are also looking forward to building on their successful partnership. “It’s a good marriage,” says Emma. “We’ve accumulated several new strategic partnerships with outside investment firms and are looking to expand our client base in Florida. Our firm is positioned very well to provide that expertise in real estate. We’re very bullish on the market.”