Martin Selig

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Martin Selig
Born1936/1937 (age 81–82)[1]
ResidenceSeattle, US
Known forfounder and owner of Martin Selig Real Estate
Net worthUS$1.1 billion (November 2015)[1]
Spouse(s)Andrea Selig (divorced)
Catherine Mayer
ChildrenDavid Selig
Lauren Selig
Jordan Selig
Parent(s)Manfred and Laura Selig

Martin Selig (born 1936/1937) is a German-born American billionaire property developer, particularly known for his work in Seattle, especially for building the Columbia Center, the tallest building in the city.

Early life[edit]

Martin Selig was born to a Jewish family in Germany,[2] the son of Manfred Selig (1902-1992), who was born in Buchen, Germany, the son of a horse-trader. In 1939 Manfred was warned by a neighbour "that the Nazis had labeled him an undesirable". He, his wife, and two children left quickly. The next day the Nazis confiscated his home and business. The family hid in warehouses in Frankfurt, before heading eastwards via Poland, Russia, Korea and Japan. They boarded a steamer to San Francisco, but chose Seattle "on a whim" because the boat stopped there and the sun was shining.[1][3]

In Seattle, Manfred opened "Selig's Linen Shop" in Seattle, started a children's clothing business, and was an art collector.[3]


Columbia Center, Seattle

Selig worked for his father in his children's clothing store before building his first shopping center in 1962.[1]

Since then, he has built mostly tall buildings in Seattle, including two blocks on Fifth Avenue known as Fifth & Jackson and Fifth & Yesler, and by the 1980s owned nearly one-third of Seattle's office space, with Forbes estimating his 1987 net worth at US$270 million.[1] He built the Columbia Center in 1985, still the city's tallest building, and sold it in 1989 for $354 million.[1]

In August 2015, it was reported that he had submitted plans to build a 31-story tower on top of the 1950s Federal Reserve Bank Building on 2nd Avenue. He bought the building in a government auction for $16 million earlier in 2015. The two buildings will be separated by what he describes as a 36-foot high "winter garden".[4]

In October 2015, he owned 4 million square feet of office space in Seattle, and his estimated net worth was $1.1 billion.[5]

Personal life[edit]

He is an art collector, paints himself, and owns works by Rembrandt and Toulouse-Lautrec.[5]

He was married to Andrea Selig; they divorced in 1995.[2] They have three children: David, Lauren and Jordan.[6][1][7] Selig has since remarried to artist Catherine Mayer.[2]

His daughter, Lauren Selig, now a Hollywood executive producer, was married to the Russian-born American Kyril Faenov, head of Microsoft's High Performance Computing Lab, until his suicide in 2012.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Sorvino, Chloe (November 2, 2015). "New Billionaire: Martin Selig Escaped Nazi Germany to Seattle, Where He Built Fortune In Real Estate". Forbes. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Seattle Weekly: "Marty the Politician - Seattle's answer to Donald Trump goes all in to torch the estate tax" By Rick Anderson February 12, 2007
  3. ^ a b Guillen, Tomas (July 27, 1992). "Manfred Selig, 89; Fled Nazi Germany And Become Businessman, Art Collector". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Bhatt, Sanjay (August 3, 2015). "High-rise may top historic low-rise Fed building". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Parkhurst, Emily. "Forbes names Seattle developer Martin Selig a 'new billionaire'". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Anderson, Rick (February 3, 2015). "Seattleland: Latest Selig Real Estate Fight Is Over Family Gravesite". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Bhatt, Sanjay (January 19, 2014). "In Person: Jordan Selig got into Seattle real estate via Berlin". The Seattle Times. Retrieved December 4, 2015.