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In Memoriam: Doug Shorenstein

A native San Franciscan, Douglas (Doug) Shorenstein began his professional career as an attorney in New York City and returned to San Francisco in 1983 to join the family business founded by his father, Walter Shorenstein. He became chairman and chief executive officer of Shorenstein Properties in 1995. Under his leadership, the company evolved from a San Francisco-focused real estate operating company into an internationally recognized real estate investment, development and management company active throughout the United States.

The company has sponsored eleven closed-end real estate investment funds with total equity commitments of $7.9 billion. These funds have invested in almost 60 million square feet of property over the last 20 years. Some of the buildings Shorenstein has owned over the years include iconic structures such as San Francisco’s Bank of America Building (555 California); Chicago’s John Hancock Tower; Park Avenue Tower in New York; Hamilton Square in Washington DC and 1201 Third Avenue in Seattle.

More recently, Mr. Shorenstein led an initiative to repurpose older buildings by transforming them into high-quality creative office space. In San Francisco, the company acquired the vacant Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart on Market Street and transformed it into the global headquarters for social media firm Twitter, a move which spurred residential and retail development in and around the immediate area of mid-Market creating a vibrant, “live/work/play” environment in a previously barren area of the city.

Mr. Shorenstein supported numerous civic and philanthropic causes and served on the boards of several institutions. He was particularly proud of his time as Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco during the height of the financial crisis, where he had the chance to work with then SF Fed President, Janet Yellen.

He also was a board member for the Washington, DC-based Environmental Defense Fund and the long-term sustainability of the buildings he owned was a major focus for him in recent years. He was also a member of the executive council of UCSF Medical Center and The Real Estate Roundtable; and served as an advisory board member to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was previously on the board of Vanderbilt University and the advisory board for Yale School of Management.

In 2011, Mr. Shorenstein was inducted into the Bay Area Council’s Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals and families who have advanced San Francisco Bay Area-based businesses to positions of national and international prominence and who have enriched the civic life of the Bay Area community.

Mr. Shorenstein loved to travel and was a passionate art collector, especially Southeast Asian and Nepalese art with an emphasis on Khmer and Cambodian pieces. Yoga was a daily early morning ritual.

With his father, Walter Shorenstein, Mr. Shorenstein led the successful 1992-93 effort to form an investor group to keep the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco.

Prior to joining Shorenstein, Mr. Shorenstein worked as a real estate attorney with the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York in its Real Estate Group. Mr. Shorenstein graduated from University of California at Berkeley with a B.A., and from University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a J.D.

Mr. Shorenstein was a member of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco.

He is survived by his wife Lydia and their three children, Brandon, Sandra and Danielle. A sister, Carole Shorenstein Hayes, also survives him.

Mr. Shorenstein was preceded in death by his father and mother, Walter H. and Phyllis Shorenstein, and sister, Joan Shorenstein Barone.

We are all deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved husband and father, Doug Shorenstein. As many of you know, Doug had been ill for some time, and he fought a courageous battle with his illness. Through it all, he maintained a positive and hopeful outlook, and he remained steadfastly focused on serving his family, his colleagues and his community. We miss him dearly already.

We thank all of you who have offered your support, kind thoughts and prayers during Doug’s illness. As we prepare over coming days to say goodbye one last time, we ask you to please respect our family’s privacy.

Lydia, Brandon, Sandra & Danielle Shorenstein

Funeral services to be held at 1pm, Sunday November 29 at Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street (Lake and Arguello), San Francisco.

If you need any further information, please contact: Andrew Neilly (925-915-0759) or Tim Gallen (925- 915-0762)