"I thought that with the market changing the way it has, if everthere was a time when people could benefit from my services and my20 years in the business, this is it," Bortnick says. "There hasnever been a bigger need for landlords to have someone who knowshow to lease in a bad market as opposed to those who know how tolease only in a good market."

Bortnick says that before the market turned, the leasing ofretail space "had become a commodity" during the recent boom yearsbecause so many prospective tenants were vying for the same space.Now, however, "It takes more work to lease space because thedecision-making process is slower, especially for the mom-and-poptenants that rent much of the shop space," Bortnick says. On theother hand, he adds, "Markets like this also create greatopportunities for tenants" who may finally be able to get into someof the locations that they have been trying to get into foryears.

Bortnick says that although he learned much about thedevelopment business in the year he spent with Carlsbad, CA-basedFoursquare Properties before launching Argent, "I had been gettingthe call to run my own shop." Before Foursquare, Bortnick spent 14years as a senior leasing executive with San Diego-based PanPacific Retail Properties, followed by a term as president ofIrvine, CA-based REZA Investment Group.

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