The Top DC Retail Leases of 2018 [Updated]


There was one retailer that caused a lot of buzz in Washington, D.C.’s retail market in 2018. Convenience store chain Wawa, which announced last year that it was making its foray into D.C., signed four leases for outposts in multiple District neighborhoods. The locations are among the largest retail leases (by square foot) signed in D.C.’s city limits this year, based on Commercial Observer’s findings, as of Dec. 19.

But the two biggest retail leases of 2018 go to an old standby: Target. The budget department store took a 67,000-square-foot-lease at New York Avenue and 16th Street NW and a 30,342-square-foot space at 7828 Georgia Avenue NW, according to data from CBRE.

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Another as-to-be-expected national retailer who grabbed a big chunk of D.C. space was The Container Store, which nabbed 25,315 square feet at 4500 Wisconsin Avenue NW, as per CBRE.

Knead Hospitality + Design, the company behind Succotash and Mi Vida, signed a 10-year lease with JBG Smith for a 9,000-square-foot restaurant overlooking Nationals Park at 1221 Half Street SE, as CO reported in June. The eatery will be called Gatsby, per a Knead spokeswoman. A portion of Gatsby, dubbed Mah-Ze-Dahr at The Commons, will feature offerings from Umber Ahmad, the owner of the Tom Colicchio-backed Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Mah-Ze-Dahr will sell coffee, sweets and savory breakfast items from Ahmad.

The Washington Business Journal reported in June that Media, Pa.-based Wawa signed a lease to open a Georgetown location at 1222 Wisconsin Avenue NW, taking the place of Restoration Hardware. The grand opening of the 7,100-square-foot store is tomorrow, a Wawa spokeswoman said of the lease in an email today. She noted that Wawa executives will give updates about the other outposts at the event.

In April, WBJ reported that Wawa signed a 7,000-square-foot lease with the Pedas family for its Tenleytown location at 4530 40th Street NW near the Tenleytown Metro station, which previously housed a Sears appliance showroom and a dental office. It’s slated to open by early next year.

Wawa revealed last month that it signed a lease for 6,400 square feet at the former Bicycle Space store at 2424 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan. It’s expected to open by the end of the year, according to WBJ. (But, to be fair, there was a retail lease bigger; Citibank took 6,700 square feet at 1901 Wisconsin Avenue NW, CBRE told CO.)

Wawa is also coming to the Highland Park plaza in Columbia Heights, which is owned by Donatelli Development and previously occupied by Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, Five Guys and Potbelly, WBJ reported in April. The total square footage is unclear, but it will likely be between 5,000 and 7,500 square feet, considering the size of most of the chain’s stores, according to WBJ, and other Wawa deals in D.C.

Update: This story has been edited to include additional large leases and the name of Knead’s forthcoming restaurant.