They ran a brokerage, now they’re sourcing deals. Why Daun and Peter landed at ABS

When Daun Paris and Peter Hauspurg closed their company Eastern Consolidated this summer, some in the real estate industry figured they would decide to retire. Instead, they’re taking on a pair of new roles at ABS Partners Real Estate.

“We weren’t focused on that. We weren’t,” Paris said, referring to retirement. “We weren’t interested in running a brokerage anymore. We needed some freedom.”

Paris will work as a senior member at the company, while Hauspurg’s will be co-managing partner. Former Eastern CEO Peter Takiff has also joined to work on acquisitions alongside the two.

Sources in the industry had mixed reactions to the pair resurfacing at ABS, with some surprised by the move and others describing it as a good fit. Ron Solarz, who used to work at Eastern but has since joined Newmark Knight Frank, said switching to the investing side of the industry was a natural move for them.

“They’re tremendously successful people,” he said. “This is the next logical step, or the next logical chapter, in their careers.”

Steven Hornstock — who co-founded ABS with Earle S. Altman, Peter Burack and Gregg Schenker in 2000 — said he has known Hauspurg for more than 30 years. The former Eastern heads initially approached ABS after they announced that the firm would shut down to inquire about possible job opportunities for some of their brokers, which eventually parlayed into talks about what they themselves planned to do.

“Peter and Daun did a little lead work for them because they were concerned. They wanted the brokers to end up in as good a spot as they could,” Hornstock said, “so it was just an evolution of all that.”

But the overarching goal of bringing the two on on is to increase the amount of acquisitions ABS does, according to Hornstock. Overall, the company’s portfolio includes more than 96 properties — 52 of which are in Manhattan — across 13.25 million square feet and 10 states.

Most recently, in February, ABS signed a $175 million 99-year ground lease for a pair of Marble Hill commercial properties at 5500 Broadway and 2900 Exterior Street, and the company also recently acquired a 50 percent interest in a portfolio of six research and development properties in Princeton, New Jersey. And The Real Deal recently ranked them as Manhattan’s No. 10 leasing brokerage by deal volume in 2017 with 78 deals across 398,000 square feet.

“We’re going to collaborate. We’re going to try to source, if we can, off-market deals or deals that are being brought to the market,” Hornstock said. “And we’re going to use Peter’s and Daun’s resources as well as ours.”

The way deals are done at ABS are slightly different than at a typical firm. Partners at ABS take ownership stakes themselves in properties that the firm buys, and this structure will likely continue with properties Hauspurg and Paris find. Hauspurg said he and Paris would put “significant equity” into the company themselves but also work with ABS’ partners to contribute.