I took one step into the grand, airy lobby of AVE Florham Park and I felt like I had arrived at a high-end resort. Then the woman at the front desk stood up and greeted me with a warm smile—and I immediately felt like I was at home.
“That’s what makes us special and distinguishes us—high-touch, personal service,” said Lea Anne Welsh, COO of Korman Communities and President of AVE, a unique real estate brand specializing in flexible-stay furnished suites and apartments.
AVE Florham Park, which celebrated its Grand Opening in June, joins a rapidly expanding portfolio of properties professionally managed by Korman Communities in Clifton, Union and Somerset, New Jersey, as well as five communities in Suburban Philadelphia and one in the East Bay Area of San Francisco. Construction is well underway at AVE King of Prussia in the Village of Valley Forge, which is slated to open January 2018.
AVE is a housing solution for extended-stay business travelers and individuals in transtion, whether they are relocating to the area for work, renovating their home, in between homes, or simply re-thinking their current living situation.
The one-of-a-kind Florham Park property boasts 256 one- and two-bedroom fully furnished suites and unfurnished apartments. “The community is the culmination of decades of experience in providing flexible-stay accommodations—it takes what AVE does to a higher level,” Lea Anne explans. “AVE Florham Park was designed and developed with the end user in mind—the furnished suite resident and the discerning renter by choice—with regard to flow, suite design and amenities offered.”
The energetic community boasts an unprecedented 65,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor amenity space and a dedicated service team on site 24/7. “We listened to our corporate clients and residents to learn how their needs are evolving and incorporated that feedback into this community, especially with cutting-edge technology in the suites and amenity spaces,” Lea Anne explains.
Location, location, location
“Many of our residents are business people,” Lea Anne shares, noting that the property’s location in The Green at Florham Park in Morris County provides a solution for local corporations and their employees. The New York Jets training facility is right in AVE’s backyard, as well as the headquarters for BASF North America, Honeywell and Summit Medical Group.
AVE Florham Park is easily accessible from northern New Jersey’s major arteries—interstates 287, 78, 80, Route 24 and the Garden State Parkway. The Morristown Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport are a short drive from the community, and Manhattan is commutable using nearby Convent and Madison train stations.
AVE Florham Park’s spacious one- and two-bedroom furnished suites are thoughtfully decorated with neutral hues and stylish furnishings that balance comfort and sophistication. Kitchens boast top-of-the-line, stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, contemporary quartz countertops and glass subway tile backsplash, modern cabinetry with soft-closing drawers, and a full set of cookware, glasses and dinnerware. Bedrooms feature extra-large walk-in closets. Every suite has a full-size front-load Whirlpool washer and dryer.
“Our furnished suites allow residents to enjoy all the comforts of home,” Lea Anne explains. “They just need to bring a suitcase with personal belongings and we take care of the rest.”
AVE also provides the cutting-edge technology in each suite that residents are accustomed to at home including ultra high-speed WiFi, LED Smart 4K Ultra HDTVs in the living room and bedrooms and premium cable featuring HBO.
Pioneering, elevating the industry
The AVE concept has been evolving since the 1960s. Steven Korman, founder of parent company Korman Communities, pioneered the corporate housing industry at The Plaza in Center City, Philadelphia in 1964. At the time, Korman Communities had a decades-long reputation of being quality home-builders and residential real estate developers, owners and operators in the Philadelphia area.
“He saw a need for people who were somewhere in between the daily hotel stay and the annual apartment lease,” shares Lea Anne, who has been with the company for 25 years. “So the idea is not new. But what makes each property new and exciting is our renewed commitment to the resident experience. We don’t want to be like everyone else. We are focused on consistency of our brand standards, as well as committed to making each resident experience special, while at the same time comfortable and enjoyable.”
After The Plaza, Korman Communities started offering flexible lease options for both furnished guests and unfurnished renters at many of its properties. Over the next 10 years, they expanded and enhanced this concept to a fully serviced furnished apartment program with unparalleled, on-site business and resort amenities and high-touch services like housekeeping and concierge assistance. As the company experienced growth in different parts of the country, the Kormans decided to launch unique brands “aka” and “AVE” in 2008—aka the urban portfolio and AVE the suburban portfolio.
Today the AVE brand continues to elevate a lifestyle of comfort and convienence for its residents. Cutting-edge business amenities and resident services were designed to enhance productivity for the business traveler including ultra high-speed WiFi and charging stations throughout, a 24-hour business center featuring HP business printer services, executive conference rooms, a 24-hour media theatre, package acceptance with mobile alerts, car charging stations and valet dry cleaning.
Resort-like amenities provide a lifestyle of comfort and convenience for residents who are on extended business trips or in transition including weekday club breakfast featuring Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea, a stainless steel lap pool with in-lay lounge chairs and nearby cabanas, grilling stations and outdoor entertainment including a movie theatre, bocce ball, pool table and chess and checkers stations. A dynamic health and wellness program features AVE Fit, a state-of-the-art fitness center boasting cardio, strength and studio spaces with top-of-the-line Life Fitness equipment and Fitness OnDemand, a seasonal bike share program and bike storage area and an on-site spa offering massage therapy and other services.
Team members make the difference
If you ask Lea Anne what makes AVE special, she’s quick to respond, “Our team!”
“Korman Communities has been in business for more than 100 years – four generations of the Korman family,” she says. “You can have the most amazing properties, but positive, hard-working, service-oriented, passionate team members have made all the difference.”
Lea Anne is proud that the company creates an environment where individuals can grow—there is a lot of longevity on their team. Most of their leadership team started working with the company at the property level, including Lea Anne, and have been with the company 10, 15, 20 plus years.
“We love to promote within. The company and the Korman family really commit to team members who embrace our values and promote our reputation for excellence,” she says. “And we want to grow our team because the company is growing rapidly.”
Giving back to the community
Philanthropic giving is one of the hallmarks of community relations and Lea Anne believes strongly that charitable giving should begin at home at AVE.
“We believe that so many of us are lucky to have what we have. We want to give back to the community. The response from our teams as well as residents is overwhelming. People really do want to give,” Lea Anne says passionately, highlighting all the 5ks and charity drives that AVE and its team members come out in full force to participate in every year.
Among those are annual initiatives including a Thanksgiving Food Drive, a Holiday Toy Drive and a September Food Drive to raise awareness for Hunger Action Month. The past two years, 20 team members participated in the Corporate FunRun in the Meadowlands to support Tackle Kids Cancer. The brand also participated in the Super Community Coat Drive when the Meadowlands hosted the Super Bowl in 2014. Individual properties have participated in local fundraisers like 5ks and adopting families for the holidays.
Lea Anne has personally participated in the MS Bike Ride, Susan G. Komen 3-Day and she regularly donates her business suits to Wings for Success in Chester County, Pennslyvania. She is currently spearheading a brand-wide donation drive to benefit organizations who provide professional clothing to women so they can build a life for themselves and provide for their family.
For more information on AVE, visit www.aveliving.com.
Angela Daidone is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. She can be reached at email@example.com.