Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Selig Development Chief Operating And Development Officer Steve Baile
This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
During his time at Daniel Corp., Steve Baile made a name for himself in Midtown Atlanta, spearheading the development of 1075 Peachtree, a 725K SF office skyscraper that is now home to PwC and Boston Consulting Group, as well as the Loews Atlanta Hotel.
In 2016, Baile joined another famous commercial real estate name in the Southeast: Selig Enterprises. Working with the late Scott Selig, Baile established the firm's first development arm that is now developing a massive mixed-use project off West Peachtree Street in Midtown that will be anchored by Google and home to the first Epicurean Atlanta Hotel. Baile has developed more than $2B in real estate.
Bisnow: What is your favorite part of your job?
Baile: The people I have the privilege of working with. They are creative, smart, motivated and dedicated to making every aspect of our projects successful. They take the toughest challenges surrounding a project and work collectively to produce outstanding results.
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Baile: Pizza delivery when I was in college. I lasted three nights. I double-parked to drop off an order, and while aimlessly lost in an apartment complex, my car was towed. It cost me more than I made working there.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Baile: I like to think I would have had a successful career as a pro golfer. Probably not, but I would imagine being somewhere in the golf industry.
Bisnow: What deal are you proudest of?
Baile: The first one. It started out as a class project, a small campus apartment concept based on a loophole I found in the zoning ordinance. I got a B on the project and when I questioned why the professor said he loved the work but couldn’t buy-in on the project’s feasibility. He said if I could prove it was actually financeable, he would increase my grade.
I went to a local banker and asked if he would recommend financing terms for the project so I could get an A. I left four boxes of documents for a 12-unit apartment project, he got back to me about a week later and said, “I’ll finance it for you” and he did! All I wanted was the grade, but things turned out OK.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Baile: My wedge game from inside 100 yards ... truly atrocious at times.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Baile: When people limit themselves and back away from exploring new ideas. Change represents opportunity and growth of both the mind and spirit, embrace it.
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Baile: My family ... worth every penny.
Bisnow: What motivates you?
Baile: Creating opportunities and projects that change our urban landscape. I want people to be inspired by the work our teams have done to change the city, and I want to continue on that path as long as I can.
Bisnow: What advice do you wish you got when you started in CRE?
Baile: Don’t be afraid to find a mentor or confidant, learn from their experiences and listen to their ideas. Be willing to share your ideas as well. This is a tough business to go in alone.
Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Baile: Packing up a Ford Escort and driving over 2,400 miles to go to a college I had never seen in a state I had never been to. No regrets.
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Baile: Force majeure.
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit?
Baile: NYC, even in the winter.
Bisnow: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Baile: Travel with my family; never seems like we do enough of it, but I love all of our various excursions.
Bisnow: What CRE trend do you think will have the most impact over the next few years?
Baile: Technology and sustainability will continue to shape our future, but I see the need to accommodate the growing population and social shifts in both major and emerging markets as both a challenge and an opportunity.
Bisnow: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Baile: I grew up in Western Canada and moved to the South to go to college on a golf scholarship.
Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?
Baile: It’s too tempting to use cliché terms to describe one’s desired legacy. Creating projects that helped change the city and pave the path for even greater opportunity is something I’m very proud of. I hope one day our three daughters will look at their parents' contributions to the community, and not only be proud of what we’ve done, but be inspired to do even more.
CORRECTION, Feb. 18, 11:50 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story gave Steve Baile's incomplete title. He is Chief Operating and Development Officer. The story has been updated.