Kenneth Olson

POKO Partners LLC

President and CEO

Job Functions: Executive, Acquisitions & Dispositions, Asset Management, Investment Management, Investor Relations


As President and CEO of POKO Partners LLC and POKO Management Corp., Ken Olson leads a socially responsible real estate company whose mission is to create high quality, affordable, and mixed income housing and mixed use communities. Ken Olson translates his knowledge of the real estate industry and community development into profitable commercial and residential projects on a daily basis. By utilizing sustainable development principles and understanding the need to positively impact aging neighborhoods, the company reinvigorates and encourages growth not solely by redevelopment, but by revitalization throughout Connecticut and New York.Since founding POKO Partners in 1993, Ken has been working to redefine traditional opinions of affordable housing by creating attractive, diverse, mixed-income neighborhoods which set the standard for community growth by increasing foot traffic, encouraging organic and service-oriented commerce, and preserving the environment. Ken believes in working in partnership with local governments to produce sensible housing opportunities. His responsibilities have included the repositioning and revitalization of underutilized housing, retail, and public and waterfront properties totaling more than $320 million to date.Olson began his career in 1981 with Bank Leumi in Commercial Construction Lending. Prior to founding POKO, Olson was the Senior Vice President of GTE Realty Company, a firm created from a debt restructuring he led as Director of Finance for the Markham Company, where he redeveloped all of the company's real estate inclusive of the project planning, construction, management, and leasing. Olson's comprehensive understanding of the debt and equity markets and structures has provided him with the insight on the utilization of various federal and state tax credit programs for development of affordable housing. Among the tax credit programs POKO has successfully used have been low income housing tax credits on a federal and state level, federal and state historic tax credits, and federal New Market Tax Credits for commercial revitalization of depressed areas.Ken founded POKO Management Corp in 1993 and POKO Partners in 1995 to become more actively involved in the management and development of real estate for his own portfolio and in partnership with others. In early deals, POKO maintained mortgage service operations for small mortgage portfolios as well as "one offs". POKO Management initially served as a fee management company, but quickly transitioned into portfolio management due to its vast experience as both owners and operators. POKO currently manages more than 650 residential apartment units located throughout the tri-state area. POKO continues to be involved in asset management, property management, strategic consulting and mortgage servicing including escrows, collections, file maintenance, accounting systems, taxes, and record keeping.Under his supervision, POKO Partners, LLC has developed and managed the activities of over 1000 housing units, constructed properties for their own account as well as for the New York City Department of Housing and coordinated with a number of not-for-profit organizations including The Enterprise Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the New York City Housing Partnership, Outreach Program, Fairfield '08, Supportive Housing Works, and Alpha Community Services in the tri-state area. Additionally, Olson spearheaded a special project in the Bahamas where he was responsible for repositioning the property during a critical development phase and led Old Bahama Bay to a successful sell out.Key Career Achievements include:• Bank Leumi: involved with loan servicing, administration and banking of warehouse lines• Director of Finance for Markham Company, a private mortgage lender: responsible for all loan originations, underwriting, credit approval, and oversight of mortgage operations including mortgage servicing including workouts and debt restructure• Senior Vice President GTE Realty Company: responsible for redevelopment of all the real estate owned by the company, including project planning, construction, management, and leasing.• President and CEO POKO Partners LLC and POKO Management Corp.: owns and operate a portfolio valued at about $385MM. Our development pipeline represents a portfolio valued on completion at about $400MM. Managed mortgage servicing operations for small mortgage portfolios as well as one offs as part of core business of acquiring assets through a variety of means for the purpose of redevelopment. Comprehensive understanding of the debt and equity markets and structures. Work with outside investors, individuals and institutional, who have invested well over $30MM in our projects currently under development.As part of his passion, which translates into the company's larger social mission, Ken works with government agencies and non-profits. Some of these include Outreach Project, The Enterprise Foundation, and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to identify, finance and administer potential properties for development.One of Ken's goals has been to promote smart growth and transit-oriented development. In addition to serving on the Executive Board of 1000 Friends of Connecticut, Ken has been working towards incorporating these ideas into POKO's Wall Street Place project through the development plan as well as through active participation in creating the Norwalk Downtown Connectivity Plan. Additionally he has been a supporter and contributor to the Norwalk Circulator Concept Evaluation and the Intermodal Study conducted with the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency.Ken is a Board Member of the Connecticut Real Estate Finance Association (REFA), is on the Executive Committee of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing ("NYSAFAH"), and is on the Executive Board of the Westchester / Fairfield chapter of ULI, co-chairing the Affordable Housing Task Force, and is a member of the Advisory Panel for the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA). Ken previously sat on the CT Governor's Advisory Panel on Affordable Housing and the CT Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Permitting Task Force and assisted with the creation of the Connecticut Historic Tax Credit legislation that was passed in 2006. In addition, he is a founding member of the Construction Education Apprentice Program at LaGuardia College, senior member of the advisory board; President of the Wassell Lane Corp, affordable housing home ownership in Westport, and advisor to the First Selectman in Westport for affordable housing.Ken has spoken at several conferences on affordable housing and was recently a featured speaker at Multi-Housing World. Additionally he is a former President of the Norwalk Symphony Board and a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League's Mid Fairfield County community leader award. He resides in Westport, Connecticut with his wife and children.

Areas of Interest

Risk Profile
Deal Type
Acquisition, Development, Ground Lease, Loan Purchase, Opportunity Zone, Partner Buyout, Pre-Development, Recapitalization, Refinance, Rehabilitation
Property Type