Contact Us

Real Estate Legend Doug Shorenstein Dies at 60

San Francisco

A giant among the West Coast real estate community, Doug Shorenstein has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 60.


Here's a photo of Doug with his father, Walter Shorenstein. Doug was the second-generation leader of Shorentein Properties and was celebrating his 20th year as head of the private real estate investment firm.

Some of the buildings Shorenstein has owned over the years include iconic structures such as San Francisco’s Bank of America Building; Chicago’s John Hancock Tower; Park Avenue Tower in New York; Hamilton Square in Washington, DC; and 1201 Third Avenue in Seattle. The company's portfolio currently totals 24.8M SF across the country.

At the height of the financial crisis, Doug served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where he had the chance to work with then San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen. He also was a board member for the 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 served as an advisory board member to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and was inducted into the Bay Area Council’s Bay Area Business Hall of Fame.

A native San Franciscan, Doug 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. Under his leadership, the company evolved from a San Francisco-focused real estate firm to a national player.

Doug took a gamble in 2011 that paid off big time, scooping up a then-iffy Mid-Market corner known as Market Square and luring Twitter inside. Other companies have followed Twitter to the neighborhood, including Uber and Square. Since 2008, Shorenstein has reduced operating expenses throughout its portfolio by $8.2M and cut carbon emissions by over 30,000 metric tons—the equivalent of taking 1,500 cars off the road.

Doug 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, he led the successful 1992-93 effort to form an investor group to keep the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco.

He is survived by his wife, Lydia, and their three children, Brandon, Sandra and Danielle. His family says 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.