Retail veteran James Chung launched the econic company in 2021 with a singular goal in mind: to provide seamless, bespoke services to landlords and tenants alike in a landscape unlike any other in recent memory. To do that, he draws on a fierce work ethic, an innate knowledge of the commercial real estate landscape, and an uncanny ability to close deals in even the most challenging market conditions.
The way James sees it, a storefront is a “living organism” — from its impact on jobs, supply chains, and the community around it. He views his role as a connector and place-maker, and relishes the opportunity to curate some of the most unique, engaging retail environments in the country.
James brings more than 20 years of experience as one of the top retail brokers in the country to his role as Founder and Principal of Econic. Prior to launching the firm, he spent 18 years with global CRE brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, most recently in the position of Executive Managing Director and as the head of retail for the Western United States. He was consistently a top C&W producer and was named National Retail Broker of the Year firm-wide in 2014.
Over the course of his career, James has represented more than 100 national and regional tenants and landlords, many of them Fortune 500 companies, and has transacted more than 15 million square feet across nine Bay Area counties — some of the most coveted real estate in the world. With over a billion dollars in total lease consideration and sales in his locker of experience, James is relentlessly focused on delivering consistency, creativity, and transparency to his clients: he focuses on service, not fees, regardless of deal size. He views great retail brokers as “traffic engineers”: “I can tell you every make and model of cars driving by a particular intersection in San Francisco or San Jose, because I’m on the streets watching what’s happening,” he says. “Now more than ever, that information is critical. We know who’s in the market, and why they’re doing it — and that gives our team a unique edge to consult at a very high level and to communicate how market conditions are changing.”
Econic’s roster of clients has included everything from well known brands like adidas, Sur La Table, Starbucks Coffee, 24 Hour Fitness, Capital One, Chase Bank, US Bank, Party City, PGA Superstore, Salon Republic, Darden, Hmart, MOD Pizza, AT&T, Hibbett Sports, Save Mart Companies, Living Spaces, Inspire Brands, WellBiz Brands, Sutter Health, Fidelity, Cinepolis, and Kids Care Dental to Michelin star chefs and restaurants like Iron Chef Morimoto, Protégé, Back Of The House, and Orchard City Kitchen. Chung’s agency work on behalf of national REITs and property developers includes such names as Federal Realty, Hunter Properties, Kimco, Black Rock, Balboa Retail Partners, TRC, CIM, Jamestown, Donahue Schriber, and Keenan Land Company.
James is a sought-after speaker, writer, and subject matter expert in retail and commercial real estate and contributes regularly to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News. He’s also been named Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2012, ASVB (Association of Silicon Valley Brokers) Broker of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and among Chain Store Age’s “Power Four.” He is a longtime and deeply invested member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which he served as State Director from 2014 to 2017.