CRE Firm CEO Launches Innovative Web Service
• Malibu Country Mart Owner Creates Tool for Commercial Real Estate Transactions
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
Michael Koss established Koss Real Estate Investments in 1971, specializing in the development and acquisition of commercial property. His portfolio encompasses shopping center investments in four states, including the Malibu Country Mart. He is also the chair and founder of Koss Financial Corp, a real estate investment banking firm that has been actively engaged in commercial real estate financing since 1981.
Koss recently debuted a new online resource for commercial real estate professionals. KossREsource.com is a free, comprehensive online information site that provides loan program searches, legal documents and other business tools, "as a way to simplify part of the commercial real estate business," according to an announcement for the new venture.
The Koss REsource website went live in May, providing free access to "a comprehensive, online information portal for the entire CRE industry," with "access to the first extensive database of financing alternatives; an extensive library of free legal documents; and tools to help CRE professionals research service providers, network and generate business."
"The commercial real estate industry hasn't taken advantage of the new paradigm [of the Internet]," Michael Koss told the Malibu Surfside News. "I decided to make a commercial real estate resource that wasn't available on the Internet."
Koss, who purchased the Malibu Country Mart in 1985, and added two additional properties to the original center to create the current mix of professional, retail and restaurant space centered around the Mart's popular public garden and play park in the Malibu Civic Center area, is well known for his philanthropic involvement with many major causes, including those in the Los Angeles Jewish community.
He has served as chair of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee Western Region, general chair and chair of the Board of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, president of the Jewish National Fund LA Ambassadors Campaign, as well as having received the Tree of Life Award from the JNF.
Koss has committed significant resources to developing the innovative Internet portal.
"We developed our own software," Koss explained, adding that he sees the site as a critically needed resource for his industry.
"I believe it's going to be the place to go for commercial real estate information," Koss said. "It's very difficult to get CRE loans. Every bank designs its own program, there isn't a cookie-cutter approach the way there is for a single family home."
"You can go on the Koss REsource site and look for loan specifics," Koss said. "All the lenders that will do that will come up. The second benefit is that the user has the opportunity to shop for the loan. The most valuable function, if you have banks willing to make a loan, is that you can compare rates."
In addition, he notes, "Koss REsource provides commercial real estate owners and their mortgage brokers with direct access to the debt and equity programs of more than 500 local and national lenders, allowing CRE professionals to search for any type of commercial loan on any type of property. Loans accessible in the database offer financing from thousands of dollars to megaloans of more than a billion dollars."
Koss REsource indicates that it has surpassed 1500 commercial loan programs in its database in the months since the site's launch, and continues to grow, according to the site's published statistics.
"The fact that we have this level of participation shows the interest and value that lenders see in using Koss REsource to expand their banking business," Koss said. "By the end of the year we expect to have more than 4000 loan programs in our database and more than 20,000 brokers and investors using our site."
Lenders participating on the site range from major national institutions to regional lenders and community banks, according to Koss.
"I really think no one should get a CRE loan without checking our site," Koss said.
"If you want to make money in real estate, you have to get your name on deeds," Koss is quoted on the website.
For more information on Koss REsource, visit, www.kossresource.com.