Photo by Duncan Urquhart
Brothers Dan and Tariq Bsharat’s Hudson Hill Partners is revitalizing downtown living and making luxury more affordable.
Ambitious real estate investors often start small and dream big, but Westchester’s Bsharat brothers have followed a slightly different career path. Tariq, born in Jordan, and Dan, born in Harrison, were raised in Westchester after their parents emigrated from Jordan. This wellrounded world outlook allowed Dan and Tariq Bsharat to hone their real estate investment skills on the global stage. Dan earned his MBA at the University of Oxford, moved to London to work at a real estate firm, and subsequently took a job in Abu Dhabi, as part of a team that managed properties valued at $1.2 billion. Tariq completed his MBA at New York University before joining a separate real estate investment firm, with an equally large portfolio, in the United Arab Emirates. Still, the brothers felt drawn to Westchester.
The two began to dabble in private real estate investments back home almost 20 years ago, realizing that they enjoyed the hands-on involvement. “We wanted something more entrepreneurial — something closer to the bricks-and-mortar rather than investing through a spreadsheet from 30,000 feet,” Dan explains. “We started off with a multifamily property, which then became two. Then, we brought in a number of trusted investors. By the third deal, we realized that there was an interesting business model here.” Dan moved back to Westchester, officially founding their boutique real estate investment management firm, Hudson Hill Partners, as Managing Director in 2018. Tariq remains in the UAE and supports Dan as an advisor and board member. “I think we are successful locally because we have international experience investing in large-scale real estate,” Dan says. “But, at the end of the day, we have found such an attractive market within a 30-mile radius of our hometown.”
With some 75 investors, their portfolio currently includes over a dozen properties, both residential and commercial, mostly in the Rivertowns area. Despite their billion-dollar backgrounds, the Bsharats are not focused on the high-end luxury market. The two have set their sights on revitalizing Main Streets and providing what they describe as middle-income, affordable-luxury housing. “We are bridging the gap between low-income housing and luxury housing, which is extremely important because that’s actually where most people live,” Dan says. Hudson Hill targets “smaller, underappreciated buildings with historical charm that need a little help in realizing their worth,” Dan explains. “Our bread and butter is existing multifamily buildings that are usually between five and 20 apartments. We refurbish units, improve the common areas, and make the building more interesting for those looking for modern living.”
That said, the brothers recently tackled a new type of venture. They converted an old warehouse in Tarrytown into three single-story condominiums. “Seventeen North Washington Street is important for us both personally and professionally,” Dan explains. “We have worked meticulously to maintain the historical character of the building, specifically the façade and all the original signage.” Tariq admits that the project was challenging, but problem-solving is something that he and his brother enjoy. “Creating value, unlocking real potential — that’s what we consider fun,” he notes. “We take measured risk, get a property under contract, and then figure things out.” Completing the “Warehouse on Washington” created “a winning situation for everyone,” Tariq explains. “The community, the purchasers of the condos, and the original owners of the building — it was a good story all the way around.”
The Bsharats also have a keen interest in multiuse buildings, hoping to lure small businesses into interesting commercial spaces, along with the residents who would frequent them. “Our thesis has always been to invest in Westchester downtowns because we identified a trend early on,” Dan explains. “People were leaving the city but still wanting a somewhat urban environment — the walkability factor — being close to the train, having that restaurant, bar, and grocery store nearby. That’s what they were accustomed to, and they didn’t want to shed that lifestyle.”
Enter COVID. After the first few months of confusion, the Bsharats believe that the pandemic actually accelerated the trend they were banking on. “I can’t say we really had any foresight, but after six months to a year, we started to see that more people were going to be living in Westchester — younger people, families, downsizing baby boomers — and they were going to be spending more time and money in downtowns. All of this led to a booming demand for residential, and with that, the demand for community retail.”
“We are bridging the gap between low-income housing and luxury housing, which is extremely important because that’s actually where most people live.”
Of course, retailers still face challenges. Westchester residents have grown uncomfortably accustomed to seeing empty storefronts in their towns. With this in mind, the Bsharats do careful due diligence to determine which businesses have the best local sustainability. “Successful community retail is something that we like to call Amazon-proof, and now we can say COVID-proof,” Dan explains. “The businesses still standing today have survived the advent of e-commerce and a global pandemic. It’s hard to see what else could throw them off course.”
The brothers cite a pair of neighboring mixed-use properties they revitalized in Hastings-on-Hudson as proof of concept. The buildings had been owned by the same person for almost 30 years, and the retail units were vacant. “So, we worked on the façades, improved the curb appeal, and started talking to potential tenants,” Dan says. The brothers believe in “getting creative with the lease terms,” affording local businesses every chance to thrive. The refurbished commercial spaces attracted three first-time entrepreneurs, including the single-use, plastic-reducing Refill Room, Hudson Valley Barbers, and diRiso Risotto Balls, an Italian takeout spot. “We’ve completely changed that entire corner of Hastings, bringing back vibrancy. Not only is that good for the immediate location, we also think it has a compounding effect,” Dan says. “We improve our property, create some buzz, and that helps across the street and to our left and right.”
While COVID currently appears to be waning as an economic threat, other forces are coming into play, including global unrest, supply-chain issues, and inflation. The Bsharat brothers acknowledge these factors but feel they have taken well-informed steps to protect themselves. “We wouldn’t buy something that we wouldn’t want to own in a downturn,” says Tariq. “We look at towns and streets that will retain value. We look at incumbent expenses and build in all the scenarios that are necessary for us to get comfortable. We feel that we are in the right segment. We are insulated.”
“Many places are next to the waterfront and near a train, which provides a huge resiliency factor,” Dan adds. “The dynamic might change over time, but the basic ingredients won’t. We also think we are well diversified. We have a good balance in terms of sector and location.”
And while rising housing prices and rents may be considered a boon to some real estate circles, the Bsharats say that their approach is to keep below the rate of inflation. “We don’t overshoot the market or push rents beyond a sustainable level,” Dan says, “Because of this respectful approach, we don’t find a lot of pushback from our tenants.”
Maintaining a solid reputation is all-important to the brothers as they continue to do business in a relatively small area. “When folks have good things to say about you [after a deal], that goes a long way,” Dan says. “Obviously, we are a for-profit business, but we want to complete every transaction, making sure our reputation is intact and that everyone feels that they can trust us.”
Trust is also an important part of the Bsharats’ relationship as brothers and business partners. “We see eye-to-eye on most things,” Tariq says. “If there is a disagreement, it usually means that neither of us has the right answer and that there’s a third solution that we have to search for. But because we have our business’s best interests in mind, our motives are the same. We are fortunate with the history we share and the journey that we are enjoying together.”