Haute 100 San Francisco Update: Walter Shorenstein

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Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100 members who are making headlines. Walter Shorenstein’s impressive art collection will be auctioned off throughout New York City and Hong Kong.

Walter Shorenstein

Category: Billionaires

Company: Shorenstein

Industry: Real Estate

What Makes Him Haute: The self-made billionaire got his start in the real estate industry by buying properties in San Francisco after he was discharged from the military back in the 1940s. It was a sound investment; at one point, he owned around a quarter of all of the office space in the city. Today, he has some 29 million square feet of space around the country. He often makes national headlines for his astronomical deals, such as his $990 million purchase of two Manhattan office buildings in 2008. Last year, the entrepreneur, now in his 10th decade on earth, told his personal story as part of an oral history project conducted by UC Berkley. The lessons he imparts: keep your personal interest separate from your business; avoid get-rich-quick schemes; classroom learning can never replace real-world experience; be careful with credit; and be prepared. Always have a Plan B…and a Plan C.

What Makes Him Haute Now: Besides leaving behind a list of valuable business tactics for future generations, the late real estate tycoon Walter Shorenstein also hands down a vast collection of Impressionist and Chinese art. Shorenstein and his wife Phyllis, who helped found San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum before her death in 1994, acquired the impressive art collection over four decades. Christie’s auction house has been selected to sell the Walter and Phyllis Shorenstein Collection in several auctions around New York City and Hong Kong. The 170 works, including paintings, fine Chinese glass, porcelain and jade, are estimated to bring in over $24 million in sales. Auctions will be held from fall 2010 through spring of 2011.

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