Mace Siegel, Columbia College and Columbia Business School alumnus and real estate magnate, died October 26th at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 86.
With Richard Cohen, Siegel founded the namesake shopping-mall development company in 1964 in New York City, combining their first names and naming it Macerich. The company established a headquarters in Ames, Iowa, finding a niche as a redeveloper of shopping centers, ultimately moving to Santa Monica to oversee the rehabilitation of an outdated mall in Lakewood. Siegel retired from the company in 2008.
Born Sept. 1, 1925, in Jersey City, N.J., in Jersey City, N.J., and serving in the Navy during World War II, Siegel attended Columbia University after the war, graduating from Columbia College in 1948 then studying at the Columbia School of Business. In 1962 Siegel met his future wife, Jan, a big band singer on a blind date at New York's Aqueduct racetrack and they married three months later.
The two horse lovers purchased their first racehorse in 1964 and named the filly Najecam, which is "Mace" and "Jan" combined and spelled backward. By the mid-1970s, they had the first of dozens of stakes winners. Among their best-known horses were 2004 male juvenile champion Declan's Moon and grade I stakes winners Boys at Tosconova, I Ain't Bluffing, Urbane, Stormy But Valid, Miss Iron Smoke, Hedonist, and I Believe in You. Other stars included Arson Squad, Rail Trip, Forest Fealty, and Love of Money. In October of 2011, Redeemed won the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. Other major race winners include Rail Trip, who took the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup in 2009, and Urbane, who won races in the mid-1990s in Florida, Maryland and Delaware, earning more than a million dollars for the Siegels.
The Siegel family settled in Beverly Hills in 1976 and became fixtures on the Southern California racing circuit. Jan was as enthusiastic about racing as her husband.
In the early 1980s Siegel, considered a godfather of Southern California horse racing for his role as an advocate for the sport, founded the Thoroughbred Owners Against Drugs to press for equine drug testing and other measures to ensure a fairer playing field. He also made generous donations to the California Retirement Management Account (CARMA) for retired racehorses, and supported the charitable Edwin Gregson Foundation. Beyond racing, Siegel's philanthropy included the City of Hope cancer center.
When CARMA was just getting started in 2008, Siegel stood up at a fundraiser and pledged $200,000, then challenged other industry participants to show their support for racehorse retirement programs. In 2008, he and daughter Samantha were honored by the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation for their industry leadership and charitable giving. Earlier this year, Siegel pledged $1.5 million to the City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., to endow a professorship. He and wife Jan were longtime supporters of the City of Hope, a leading research, treatment and education center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. A wing of the hospital is named in honor of Jan Siegel, who died from cancer in 2002.
Siegel had 50 years of experience in the shopping center business. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Macerich Co. from September 1993 to September 4, 2008 and Director and Chairman Emeritus from September 2008 to June 8, 2009.
Macerich owns and operates 70 regional shopping centers around the country with 22 shopping centers in California, 12 of which are in the SoCal area including: the Westside Pavilion in West LA, the newly rebuilt Santa Monica Place, the Stonewood Center in Downey, Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara, Panorama Mall, Pacific View in Ventura, The Oaks in Thousand Oaks, Northridge Mall, Los Cerritos Center, Lakewood Center, La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara, and the Inland Center in San Bernardino.
Siegel is survived by his daughter, Samantha, of Beverly Hills, and his son, Evan, of Simi Valley. Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles.