Orhan Sokoli is the Founder and leader at MK Group, a New York construction firm specializing in interior designs and builds. Orhan and his team serve residential and commercial clients across the five boroughs of New York City.
- Please tell us your name and a little more about yourself.
My name is Orhan Sokoli, born on February 14, 1985 in Mitrovica, Kosova. I attended and finished Elementary and High School education in Kosova, while in higher education in Bachelor of Science, I attended and completed at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. As a result of the war in Kosova in 1999 where I lost family members, amongst which my father and my uncle, and many friends of my age, my country has endured a hard economical and social recovery as a result of which I was forced to migrate to the US in August of 2003. Luckily, I was very much involved in soccer from the very early stages of my life and was able to convince the coaches at St. Francis College to offer me a scholarship to pursue my education.
Being an international student, with no job and no home, had its very rough times, but I was determined to complete the education for 2 main reasons: 1. When I first came to the USA I spoke no English whatsoever. Therefore, besides the language, I realized that St. Francis College has a very good program of teaching international students how to act and behave in the real professional world and that is a feature I was taught and still apply to this day in my day-to-day business doing, and 2. It was always my father’s wish that all his children (me, my brother, and my sister) complete College Education and earn their degrees. I am proud to say that all three of us have fulfilled his wish.
As a child, I always had a passion for building and designing. Therefore, after college, I started to get involved in the construction world mainly working on the lower levels as a demo guy or laborer. I was picking up on trades very quickly while in the meantime learning the administrative part of running a business, blueprints, and engineering. I was moved from level to level fast and with desire and hard work gained tremendous experience in buildout, architecture, engineering, and design with all of that combined decided to establish my own entity in 2016 naming it MK Construction Group Corp.
- What is MK Group and what unique services do you provide?
MK Group is a Construction Company based out of New York. We were established in 2016 and have kept in business since grown steadily. What distinguishes MK Group from many other Construction Companies out there are a few things.
Primarily MK Group offers design and builds services, where with our team of in-house designers, architects and engineers we offer our clients a one-stop shop eliminating multiple layers that a potential client has to deal with during the process as well as minimizing the risk of the high cost to the client due to changes or mistakes that layers and different entities of the project can make. Secondly, we have great resources of finished products that we offer to our design-build clients at very affordable cost making it possible for them to get a final product that is in many cases beyond their expectations and within the budget or sometimes even below budget. And last but not least, MK Group is a very price-competitive construction company where the owner (me) is involved hands-on in every project that is ongoing.
- Can you give us a better understanding of what your firm does and what inspired this business?
MK Group is focused on interior build-outs. We have spread our wings in all different areas of interior construction, such as residential apartment units, restaurants and bars, and millwork, and are recently very involved in building amazing medical facilities throughout New York.
As I mentioned earlier, as a child I always had a passion for building/constructing, and designing. Given that passion grew in me as I was growing older I seemed to have found it quite easy to pick up on the trade and the industry and as such start a business that I cannot be any more proud of.
- Could you give us a breakdown of the specific services you provide at MK Group?
Depending on the type of the project and how the client decides to hire MK, whether as a design and build entity or just GC, we can provide different services.
For design and build or just GC projects we provide:
- Searching for a space/place that best fits our client’s needs and requirements
- Consulting through a lease negotiation process
- Test fit-outs to satisfy client’s requirements
- Engineering evaluation of the space
- Budget preparation for the project
- Preparation of a set of plans for Landlord review
- Preparation of at least 2 designs for client review, and once a design is chosen we will provide a detailed design and rendered set with specs and finishes.
- Preparation of final Architectural, MEP, and Design Plans
- Expediting with City and Government Offices such as DOB
- Build out and supply all associated finishes for the project
- Coordinating and communicating with any agencies or layers hired by the owner/client
- Final Sign offs and cleans up
- Can you tell us more about how MK Group works, its advantages, and what sets it apart from competitors?
Once again, the main advantages of MK Group are its ability to provide clients with one-stop service for build out of any type, Competitive or more affordable pricing, and very good and cost-effective resources.
- What are the challenges that MK Group faces in the industry?
Recently the construction industry has become a very tough water to swim in. Prices of just about every material have risen, the cost of premiums for insurance and other soft cost items (gas, tolls, etc) has gone up as well and good labor is an all-around problem. These are some of the biggest challenges that we are facing currently but given we have a long experience and we perform a lot of trades in-house, we are able to keep steadily afloat.
- Do you have any success stories or use cases you would like to share with us?
Yes, there are several success stories that relate to MK Group as well as myself as a founder. In 2012 I was the head of the construction team who built an amazing ground-up 2-story high-end restaurant designed by Philippe Starck in Soho. It was a top-notch project featuring a custom glass 80 feet chandelier, 35 feet chromatized apple placed on the roof, 45 feet chromatized tree and Kosova imported metal and wood finishes which made me very proud.
Also, in 2022 MK designed and built a trademark 8,000-square-foot medical facility, Viva Eve. The project is one of its kind in try state and one that we are very proud of.
- What are you currently working on at MK Group? What is next on your roadmap?
MK group is currently working on various projects. We just completed a 16-story lobby and hallway renovation, and have 2 residential projects, one commercial project, and one medical facility underway.
Going forward we are working with new and very exciting clients that are looking to expand their franchise in NYC and are closely working with several doctors who are interested in opening new medical offices and/or surgery facilities, therefore it is looking like a busy year hopefully.
We are also very much interested and working on importing goods and finishes from Europe that we feel can break them into the market with good quality and affordable cost.