Daun Paris is president of Eastern Consolidated, the brokerage company she co-founded in 1981 with partner Peter Hauspurg, whom she married in 1983. Since then, Eastern Consolidated has grown into the largest single-office commercial real estate investment services firm in the United States, with over $4 billion in annual sales. Paris directs day-to-day operations and handles the firm’s strategic direction.
What is your name?
Daun Paris Hauspurg.
What is your date of birth?
June 4, 1955.
Where were you born?
Denver, Colo., but I grew up in Ridgewood, N.J. My father was in the Air Force, stationed in Germany. He had family in New Jersey and that’s why we ended up there. He was a builder. He built luxury homes.
Where do you live now?
We live in Bedford, N.Y., in Northern Westchester. Rockledge Farm [our 26-acre estate] keeps us very busy. We have llamas, and up until last December, we had Royal Dexter cows.
How do you have time for the animals?
We have some help, but the llamas sort of take care of themselves. The cows required more care. They were constantly breaking loose. It just became ridiculous, so we gave them as Christmas presents. They were grass-fed and they ended up being delicious.
Do you ever think about moving back to the city?
We put Rockledge Farm on the market in 2007 and then promptly took it off. We have four houses on the property, and with the kids gone there is no good reason to occupy such a large carbon footprint. But Peter refuses to give up his horses and golf around the corner, and we have wonderful friends there.
How many children do you have?
Two. A son [Philip], who’s 23 and is an actor, and a daughter [Alexandra], who is 21. She’s in her senior year at Duke.
What challenges did you face as a woman when you started in this business?
In commercial real estate, being a woman, I think, was an advantage. I think it was a way that we stood out from the crowd.
How did you and Peter start working together?
We were at the same firm — Whitbread Nolan — and we started teaming up on deals. I was really good at finding [deals] and he was really good at closing. We had been working with a group from the Arab Emirates. They had a large war chest and they were very committed to working with [us], and we decided to start our own firm.
How did you start dating?
We were very slow and careful because we knew our professional life was working really well. I had tremendous regard for him and we
complemented each other.
Do you put your personal relationship aside when you’re at work?
We can go through the day without even seeing each other. We handle different ends of the business. I do the day-to-day operations, recruiting, and Peter does the deal-making. Sometimes we ride in together, but often we have our own schedules.
How did you learn the business?
When I started there was no training. I truly believed that if someone would give me a shot, I would be able to sell that property. I called up Sol Goldman. I ended up getting a meeting with him. I had been in the business like three months and convinced him that he should give me a building [1040 Madison Avenue], because I was going to sell it.
What are some of the deals that you’re most proud of?
The deals we’ve done on behalf of the Durst family. Americas Tower [on Sixth Avenue].
What deal has affected you personally the most?
The Lowell Hotel [in 1982]. Peter and I thought we lost that deal, and I had used all of my savings. We were walking to my apartment, and Peter proposed to me. I went from thinking, “What am I going to do?” to being ecstatic. So I have a very special feeling about that deal. It ended up going through the next day.
Why did he choose that moment?
He was in debt at the time, and I think he wanted to ask me to marry him when we didn’t have a big commission on the horizon.
So you wouldn’t be marrying him for his money?
Or he wouldn’t be marrying me for my money.
Tell me about the photographs above your desk.
This is a Bert Stern of Marilyn [Monroe]. We have a number of his works. At home we collect a lot of nudes.
Would you advise someone to go into real estate now, given the state of the economy? What was your experience in past downturns?
Absolutely, for the right kind of person. In 1989, [we] decided we had to get bigger, smaller or close our doors. We tripled our size at 30 Rock and went about recruiting some senior brokers. It proved to be successful and that was a turning point for us.
Do you have any family trips planned?
At Christmastime we go on a yoga retreat at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. We’re all very into yoga, all four of us. Peter and I have [a
yoga instructor] who comes to the office. For a while the brokers were taking part in yoga, too.
How come you stopped?
Given the economy, the assets could be deployed more effectively elsewhere. But we’re going to do it again.