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FORT WORTH-One of the region’s top retail brokers has gone out on his own after spending the past 18 years with NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell, closing out a tenure that began as an intern and ended as a principal.

Nick Ibarra says he exited NAI to pursue development opportunities under the flag of Clear Fork Properties Inc., which he’s set up in an office at 1509 S. University Dr. in Fort Worth. Ibarra, backed by local equity partners, tells GlobeSt.com that he will break ground in January 2005 on his first project, a 12,000-sf shopping center along Davis Boulevard in North Richland Hills.

Ibarra’s first development, Davis Tower Shopping Center, will rise on several acres he bought and banked a couple years ago. A one-acre pad site is being sold to Goodyear Corp. for a service center. Ibarra hired GSBS Batenhorst Inc. of North Richland Hills to design the project, which will deliver in late spring 2005.

“It’s just me right now until it justifies hiring somebody else,” says Ibarra, who explains that the going-forward plan clearly will focus on retail development. The idea for change came as a result of discussions with some of his clients, he says.

“We were surprised. We were sorry to see him go,” says Bill Behr, principal with the Fort Worth-based NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell. “He’s a great guy. He’s looking at a great opportunity and get into the ownership side.”

Ibarra started with the Fort Worth firm just six months after it was formed. “We had very good times,” Ibarra says. “They were sad to see me leave, but they were very excited for me as well.” He’s closing out his final deals with the firm, but just how long that will take is undetermined. “It’s however long the deals take,” he adds.

Regardless, Ibarra and Behr say it’s not the end of the road. “Anything I can’t do, I will refer to them,” Ibarra says. Likewise, Behr says NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell is standing ready to help, if needed.

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