Selig makes big move into real estate development

Selig makes big move into real estate development

A $400 million mixed-use project in Midtown is ushering in a new era for nearly 100-year-old Selig Enterprises Inc. that could make it one of Atlanta’s most active developers over the next two decades.

Selig Enterprises is proposing the new project, anchored by a 32-story tower, at 1105 West Peachtree Street, part of a formerly overlooked Midtown corridor now dotted with new apartment and retail development.

Selig’s plans include 645,000 square feet of office space, up to 80 residential units, a 150-key boutique hotel, and street-level retail. Atlanta Business Chronicle first reported the project online Dec. 7.

The plans mark an expansion for the company, giving it a greater focus on development. That’s significant.

For decades, Selig Enterprises has been assembling a portfolio of high-profile Atlanta sites that many of its larger competitors would probably covet.

There’s the nearly 4 acres on West Peachtree for the mixed-use project. Eighty acres on the city’s Westside, a destination for Atlanta’s hottest restaurants. Ansley Mall, along an undeveloped section of the Atlanta Beltline.

Other properties include Buckhead shopping centers, acres on intown corridors such Cheshire Bridge Road, and established Atlanta restaurants and nightspots such as Smith’s Olde Bar, the White House Restaurant, Silver Skillet and The Colonnade.

“I truly believe we have the best property in this city hands down for the next 30 years,” said Scott Selig, president of the company’s new development division. “No one can compete with us. We have the opportunity to finally be what we can be.”

The move is a big departure for the company, said Steve Selig, president and chairman of Selig Enterprises.

“We are getting more into the development side of these sites rather than being just an investor,” Steve Selig said.

The father and son had bandied the idea over the years. Scott believed he saw an opportunity. Steve initially resisted. He was a bit more conservative about development, an approach that served him well during the historic real estate downturn Atlanta just suffered.

But, eventually the elder Selig realized something.

“When my dad was alive, I’d go in and have all these great ideas about things we ought to be doing here,” Steve Selig said referring to his own father, Simon. “My dad would look at me and say ‘Steve, I’m comfortable. I don’t need to do anymore. I don’t need to take any risk.’ And I’d find myself being my dad when Scott would come in and say the same thing to me. I would sort of feel ‘Why do I need to take this kind of risk?’”

Steve Selig said that wasn’t fair to Scott. He had to trust his son and take the chance. So, they launched the new development division.

Scott Selig will lead it as president. Steve Baile was brought on as chief operating officer. Matt Rendle will become its chief investment officer.

Baile comes from Daniel Corp., where he worked with the Selig family on the $1.5 billion 12th and Midtown project. It now features more than 1,100 residences and 850,000-square-feet of commercial and retail space.

“We’ve got some assets that we’d consider a hold for us, but I don’t think that’s going to include a 32-story class A office tower in Midtown right now,” Baile said, referring to initial interest from the market in the 1105 West Peachtree project. “The key for us is this puts us in a position of flexibility.”

Rendle, who was formerly with real estate company Jamestown, oversaw a $7.2 billion portfolio that included Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Chelsea Market in Manhattan and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Ponce City Market has reshaped development in the Old Fourth Ward.

“For decades, we’ve essentially planned for this moment, buying property way before anyone else thought about an area and knowing it would transform,” Scott Selig said.

“Now, we’ve brought in the best at what they do to help direct us.”

Even so, it’s a big step for the company. And, there’s some risk with that. “Anytime you change direction it is somewhat scary,” he said.

That statement could also apply to Scott Selig’s own personal challenge. Earlier this year, he received a cancer diagnosis, a moment he revealed to his wide network of friends and colleagues. They follow his progress through the social media site, “Scottstrong.”

Selig, who is receiving chemotherapy and radiation, said the treatments can leave him fatigued and dehydrated. But, his inner strength hasn’t faltered. It shows in his passion for the company and his belief in its expansion.

“We are in control this time,” Selig said.

The Seligs’ plans for 1105 West Peachtree could make a strong opening statement for the new division. The project will feature multiple buildings linked by a nearly one-acre plaza. It would sit in the middle of the development and atop the parking deck, offering a new gathering spot with city views for tenants and Midtown residents.

The buildings would rise on a 3.5-acre site that could join a development wave along West Peachtree between 14th and 10th streets. Other nearby projects include a medical office building for Northside Hospital and a 72,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market.

Selig Enterprises was expected to submit plans Dec. 6 to the Midtown Development Review Committee, which meets later this month.

The company hired architect Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio LLC to design the mixed-use project, which will feature an abundance of natural daylight and views of the city skyline. The architects said they didn’t want to design the building as “just another glass box.”