March 7, 1922
|Died||March 11, 2007 (aged 85)|
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Occupation||Real Estate developer, philanthropist|
|Known for||co-founder of Shapell Industries|
|Children||Vera Shapell Guerin|
|Relatives||David Shapell (brother)|
Sala Shapell (sister)
Max Webb (brother-in-law)
Paul Guerin (son-in-law)
Early life and education
Nathan Schapelski was born on March 7, 1922 in Poland. He was a teenager during Nazi Germany's Invasion of Poland. His mother was deported to the Targowa ghetto. He was deported to the Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps, but he managed to escape. After the war, he built housing for homeless Jews in Münchberg, Germany.
Shapell moved to Los Angeles, California with his wife in 1952, after reading about it in Life magazine, and they decided to stay. By 1955, together with his brother David and brother-in-law Max Webb, he co-founded Shapell Industries, a real estate development company. He served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Shapell developed the MGM ranch in Thousand Oaks, California, the residential community of Kite Hill in Laguna Niguel, California, the East Lake development in Yorba Linda, and Promenade Towers, a 510-unit project in Downtown Los Angeles. In the late 1980s, he developed Porter Ranch, California, adding commercial buildings to the residential community.
Shapell served as a past President and Executive Board Member of the Academy of Achievement. He also served on the Little Hoover Commission from 1975 to 1994. He also founded and Co-Chaired Building a Better Los Angeles, which raised US$1 million for homeless people in Los Angeles. In 1980, he was Chairman of California's Task Force on Affordable Housing. In 1987, he became President of Drug Abuse Resistance Education, an anti-drug non-profit organization in the United States. He served on President Ronald Reagan's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control. In 1992, Governor Pete Wilson appointed him to the California Competitiveness Council to help boost the economy. In 1998, Senate President Pro-Tem Bill Lockyer appointed him to a commission to help alleviate California's overcrowding of prisons. He was one of the founders of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and was appointed by President George H. W. Bush and reappointed twice by President Bill Clinton to its governing council.
Shapell donated to the Yad Vashem, Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the University of Santa Clara, the University of Southern California, as well as Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He also supported the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the D.A.R.E. program, and the Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Santa Clara in 1986 and from Tel Aviv University in 1987. He was a strong supporter of Israel, and he traveled to the frontlines to show his support to the Israel Defense Forces during the Sinai War, the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War.
Shapell resided in Beverly Hills, California. He was married to Lilly Schreiber, who died in 1994. She was also an Auschwitz survivor and worked as an interpreter at several of the war crimes trials. They had a daughter, Vera Guerin. She married a gentile, Paul Guerin, over her father's bigoted objections. Vera inherited her father’s 43 percent stake in Shapell Industries.
Death and legacy
In November 2013, Toll Brothers purchased the Shapell Homes housebuilding division of Shapell Industries for $1.6 billion; his daughter Vera's share was $690 million. Vera still retains a 43 percent interest in the remainder of Shappell industries which includes over 10,000 apartments, five shopping centers, and four office buildings worth an additional $1.7 billion.
- Valerie J. Nelson, Nathan Shapell, 85; builder who developed Porter Ranch was also noted philanthropist, The Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2007
- Jeremy Sharon , The Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2017
- Nathan Shapell, real estate developer and philanthropist, 85, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, March 11, 2007
- Gabe Fuentes, Builder-Activist Nathan Shapell Is Driven to Develop Some Big Ideas, The Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1989
- Michael Kinsman, Nathan Shapell; residential developer, pioneer in downtown transformation, U-T San Diego, March 25, 2007
- California Homebuilding Foundation
- Bloomberg BusinessWeek
- Furlong, Tom (August 17, 1986). "Developer Jona Goldrich : Deal Maker Transforms Downtown L.A." The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- Los Angeles Times: "Lilly Shapell; Holocaust Survivor, Author" October 22, 1994
- Bloomberg: "Auschwitz Survivor’s Daughter Becomes Billionaire" By Seth Lubove & John Gittelsohn November 14, 2013
- Fox Business: "Toll Brothers to Buy Shapell Homes for $1.6B, 4Q Revenue Soars" By Matthew Rocco Archived 2013-11-10 at the Wayback Machine November 07, 2013
- Google Maps