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CHICAGO-During 2009, while real estate companies across the globe are filing for bankruptcy and attempting to balance their books, Dan Smolensky decided it was time to start his own brokerage firm. In its first year of operation, The Modal Group has completed more than $20 million in industrial transactions.

“We are extremely pleased with our first year results,” Smolensky says. “It wasn’t an easy year by any means, but we worked diligently with our clients to help them to benefit from very aggressive lease terms being offered by landlords.”

In October 2008, after 15-years of experience Smolensky was laid off from a major Chicago-based REIT. “I considered several offers and then decided that there was no better time to start my own company,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “I loved being a broker, and I had been considering starting a brokerage company for awhile.”

From there the industrial-focused company, The Modal Group, was conceived. The company focuses on a tenant-rep model and represents both users looking to buy or lease space.

“We think the traditional brokerage model of representing both sides of the deal (landlords and tenants) is fundamentally flawed as customers expect transparency from their real estate provider,” Smolensky says. “The economy is changing, the market is changing and the customer is definitely changing. We want to be the leaders in the paradigm shift.”

Thus far, Smolensky and his team mostly brokered deals in the O’Hare market, to the total of roughly $20 million. “I was able to tap into the great business relationships that I had maintained over the years.”

The Modal Group is already in talks with a number of companies for 2010 deals. Smolensky tells GlobeSt.com that these clients are looking in the O’Hare submarket as well as along I-55 and I-80 as the intermodal facilities mature and the companies utilize rail.

“The deals getting done are being executed by savvy companies that recognize that this environment provides them an opportunity for long term reductions in their real estate costs in either a sale or lease scenario,” Smolensky says.

Even though The Modal Group has seen success in its first year. Smolensky believes 2010 will still be a difficult environment for the real estate market. “My hope is that companies who intend to be in business beyond ‘Great Recession’ will take advantage of the opportunistic market now and reap the rewards in the next cycle and beyond.”

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