Portrait of Kenneth Koehler, president and COO of The PRC Group.West Long Branch, N.J, May 7, 2010

Portrait of Kenneth Koehler, president and COO of The PRC Group. West Long Branch, N.J, May 7, 2010

Credit: Katja Heinemann

Local leader PRC Group celebrat-ed its 50th anniversary this spring by offering $50,000 in savings on selected homes in its six communities in New Jersey. The holding company, founded by its chairman, Robert Kaye, focuses on property management as well as new-home construction in a state where there’s never enough available land to develop. Two years ago, PRC made headlines when it partnered with Amboy Bank to build out a 225-lot community in Old Bridge, N.J., that Kara Homes left unfinished when it went bankrupt. But Ken Koehler, PRC’s president and COO for the past seven years, says the company, which typically builds about 100 homes annually, prefers to keep a low profile. Builder spoke with Koehler at PRC’s offices in West Long Branch, N.J., in late April.

Q: To what do you attribute your company’s longevity?

A: We’re diversified. We own and manage several thousand apartments and manage other apartments for third parties. We’re also involved in commercial real estate: Our office properties in central Jersey have good, long-term tenants. We have Class A office space in Red Bank and flex space [an office/warehouse combination] in Eatontown.

Q: Has your home building operation changed during the downturn?

A: We’ve gotten out of the high end and moved toward smaller, more affordable townhouses and single-family homes under $400,000, in less rural areas and near public transportation. Our project in Old Bridge, Madison Crossings, where we just started a new phase of 50 units, is an excellent location because it’s within walking distance of highway and bus access to New York, but when you get into the community it’s like being in the country.

Q: Where will PRC’s growth come from?

A: We continue to look at apartment complexes to purchase, including in eastern Pennsylvania. We’ve also gotten into active adult and recently built 51 higher-end single-family homes in Scotch Plains, where there’s no land. We control about 300 approved [residential] lots, but we haven’t decided when we’ll start building our next two communities [in Tinton Falls and Sayreville, N.J.], although we’ve started to feel better about them lately.