Scott Selig, 46, has been front and center in the news on many bold topics. Having won the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors’ Realtor of the Year award in December, he heads Selig Enterprises’ acquisition of crown-jewel parcels to gentrify, modernize and change the face of central Atlanta.
Selig was diagnosed with cancer in October but has chosen to maintain a formidable and “power of positivity” attitude toward the disease and his recovery.
He sat down for an interview late in December.
Jaffe: Was it a foregone conclusion for you to go into the family business? Ever want to be a dentist or a lawyer?
Selig: Growing up, I really had no clue about a firm direction. After securing an M.B.A. from the University of Georgia, I went into the pay phone business. Then I sought marketing positions. Most leads steered me back to my own family business as an eventuality.
Jaffe: How would you describe your responsibilities at Selig Enterprises?
Selig: I focus on acquisitions and government affairs. In terms of acquisitions, for example, we recently announced an upscale new project, 1105 West Peachtree, a $400 million project to include office space, multifamily and a high-end hotel (with 150 rooms). It took me nine years to accumulate the property, which was basically derived from three parcels.
We are working on redeveloping Manuel’s Tavern, and we own 9 acres on Cheshire Bridge, waiting to find just the right project.
Jaffe: So the key to success in real estate development is?
Selig: Waiting for and recognizing the right timing. We will hold on to land for the perfect fit.
Jaffe: Was winning the Atlanta Commercial Realtor of the Year a high point for you?
Selig: I appreciated the award as an acknowledgment by my peers. For 15 years, I have served as our watchdog for government affairs, fighting against things that are not good for our industry. I did not do it for recognition. If there is a wall, I figure out how to get around it. My job is to protect and persist.
Jaffe: You recently were on the cover of the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution business section, detailing a dust-up with Mayor Kasim Reed, which was an example of your courage. In my opinion, he went overboard with unjustified personal insults.
Selig: No comment.
Jaffe: You are lauded for your public face to confront your cancer diagnosis. Your Scott Strong Facebook group, for example. For such a young man in the prime of life with children, this cannot be easy. You speak about it very matter-of-factly.
Selig: I feel fine. It is what it is. I can sit and wonder, “Why me?” And “It’s not fair.”
But I chose to have a positive attitude and attack the disease. I will die with cancer, not from it.
Jaffe: How do you spend your free time?
Selig: I do a lot of community work (like the Buckhead Coalition and the Midtown Alliance executive board), which can involve early breakfasts and late evenings. My main priorities are my kids. I try to make every soccer and basketball game. I cherish most the times I can take them to visit other cultures and see how the cities have developed over time. I’d say Italy was our favorite.
I like to hike and can be seen walking around Chastain Park.
Jaffe: With your government experience, would you consider seeking public office?
Selig: I wouldn’t rule it out, but not any time soon with all I have on my plate — and, of course, running a company.
Jaffe: What can we learn from your experience?
Selig: We have to appreciate what’s right in front of us. We realize our impact without truly trying. What can you accomplish when you really focus?
Jaffe: So your mantra is …
Selig: You can never do wrong by doing right.
Jaffe: Last word: We admire you and wish you a full and speedy recovery.