Five San Francisco Real Estate Dynasties


1. Bechtel Family

Warren A. Bechtel started Bechtel engineering and construction company in 1923. He was only 25 years old. The Bechtel family is known for famous projects such as the Hoover Dam, the Channel Tunnel, Crossrail London and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Warren A. Bechtel died unexpectedly during the Hoover Dam Project, so his son Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. took over in 1960.

Bechtel Family

2. Berg Family

Berg & Berg Enterprises was founded by brothers Clyde and Carl Berg. Carl Berg, former partner of John Sobrato, owns Microsoft’s Mountain View Campus (pictured below) and some buildings leased by Apple. He acquired Mission West properties in 1997 and sold it for $1.3B in 2012. Carl’s latest project, Berg Pharma, helps find modern treatments for some of the world’s most widespread diseases.

Berg Family

3. Sobrato Family

John A. Sobrato started the Sobrato Organization in 1979. But that wasn’t the first company founded by this famous family. The senior Sobrato, John Mossimo Sobrato, owned a popular San Francisco restaurant called John’s Rendezvous. After his father’s death in 1952, Ann Sobrato sold the restaurant and used the proceeds to begin investing in real estate. John A. Sobrato’s son took over the Sobrato Organization in 1979, and by 2013 they both announced that they were moving away from managing the operations of the company to focus on charitable activities. In 2015, John A. Sobrato and his wife offered the biggest ever pledge to the University of San Francisco worth $15 million.

Sobrato Family

4. Shorenstein Family

Walter Shorenstein bought Shorenstein Co in 1960. At that time it was named Milton Meyer and Co, he changed the name in 1989. Walter passed away in 2010, and at the time of his death, Shorenstein Company owned 130 buildings totaling at least 28,000,000 square feet of office space. Walter’s son, Douglas W. Shorenstin, ran the company until this past November, when he lost his battle with cancer. Some high profile properties that the Shorenstein Company purchased was the Starrett-Lehigh Building in New York City, Chicago’s John Hancock Tower and New York’s Park Avenue Tower.

shorenstein family

5. Wallace Family

Wallace Realtors was opened in 1928 by father-son duo William and Ed Wallace. Ed’s son, Clark, joined his father and grandfather’s company in 1958. One of their biggest deals was the sale of the 5,000 remaining acres of the 8,000-acre Moraga ranch to Utah Construction and Mining Co for $4M in 1953. Today, the company is still run by Ed’s son, Clark.

wallace family