Selig Advises Real Estate Action is Inside Perimeter
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Selig Advises Real Estate Action is Inside Perimeter

Steve Selig, president and chairman of Selig Enterprises, remains bullish both about the real estate industry and Atlanta.

Atlanta Skyline photographed by Gene Phillips
Atlanta Skyline photographed by Gene Phillips

After celebrating the 100th birthday of his family’s company in October, Steve Selig, president and chairman of Selig Enterprises, remains bullish both about the real estate industry and Atlanta.

He says the two biggest changes in the city’s real estate industry are the growth of mixed-use projects that now integrate retail, office and residential use, and in the last 10 to 15 years, an urbanization which has seen people moving back into town. “The BeltLine has changed that,” says Selig.

Most of Selig Enterprises’ new development is, not surprisingly, inside Interstate 285. “We’re focusing Intown. … It’s where the action is. And we already own most of the existing land” on which they are building, says Selig. He mentions the mixed-use development under construction on West Peachtree Street, between 12th and 13th streets, that will include a hotel, retail, condominiums and at least 550,000 square feet of office space. It is scheduled to open in May 2020.

He also points to The Works in the Chattahoochee Industrial Park on Atlanta’s Upper West Side, which was the dream of his late son, Scott. The 80 acres will include retail, residential, office space and acres of green space. He calls the development “adaptive mixed use” because it will convert the area’s low-rise brick warehouses in phases over the next 10 years.

The occupancy rate in Atlanta is in the 90-percentile. “It’s been a boom the last 10 years as interest rates have been low,” and with occupancy rates high, it’s still time to build, Selig explains. The boom came after the severe downturn in Atlanta’s real estate industry – and the economy in general – in 2007 to 2008. He doesn’t expect the slowly rising interest rates to make much of a difference in the latest upward trend of the cyclical Atlanta real estate industry.

Steve Selig

Selig believes Atlanta remains a hot destination for young people. “When a person graduates from college anywhere east of Denver, he makes a list of five cities in which to live. Atlanta is always on the list. We will get our share because prices are cheaper than other big cities, we have parallel runways at the airport that help get you anywhere in the world, we have good weather, and race relationships, and good arts.”

If Selig sounds like a cheerleader representing the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, that’s not far from the truth. Selig, and his company, have been heavily involved in the Jewish and larger community for decades. His office buildings house the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta (the Selig Center), the Consulate of Israel, and the Atlanta Jewish Times. In addition, “we donated the Zaban Shelter at the Temple,” he notes. “The Selig Center was a gift to the Federation when it outgrew its building on Peachtree Street.”

In addition to material donations, Selig has generously given of his time. He was president of the Federation in the 1990s; he was national campaign chair for the Jewish Federations of North America from 2002 to 2004. He is also the past president of The Temple and the Atlanta chapter of the American Jewish Committee, from which he earned the Distinguished Service Award in 1992.

Beyond the Jewish community, Selig has served on the boards of Westminster Schools, the University of Georgia Foundation, the Georgia State University council, Spelman College and the Lovett School. A supporter of Atlanta’s arts community, he has served on the boards of the Alliance Theatre and the Woodruff Arts Center. In addition, he served on the advisory board of the Shepherd Center, the board of Camp Sunshine and the Leukemia Society board. He was a founding member of Camp Twin Lakes and president of the National Kidney Foundation.

Selig Enterprises was one of two developers of the new City Springs project in Sandy Springs. It also has built student housing and elderly housing, in addition to office, retail, industrial and residential developments. The national AAA Parking system and shopping centers in Florida round out the company’s holdings.

But the Selig family wasn’t always in the real estate industry. The company was started by his grandfather, Ben Massell, as a chemical company. After it was sold to Atlanta-based National Service Industries, Selig Enterprises entered the real estate business. And it has never looked back.

Selig recalls when his father started developing in the Fulton Industrial area. The company was building so much property that the former Fulton County Commission Chairman Charlie Brown told his father: “You were the first to build out there. Since we’re building a new road, what would you like it to be named?” Now there’s Selig Drive, Selig Circle, and others.

When Selig entered the family business, after working in the banking industry, his title was head of leasing. Now his name epitomizes real estate in Atlanta – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“In the real estate community in Atlanta, we are not really competitors, but friends,” he adds. “We support each other. It’s a wholesome environment. There’s nobody in the real estate business that I wouldn’t do business with. They are all honorable people.”

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