Leases  ·  Retail

District Dogs and RĀKO Coffee Sign first Retail Leases at Amazon’s HQ2


Amazon has announced the first two retailers to sign on at its upcoming HQ2 in Arlington, Va.’s National Landing.

District Dogs, a full-service pet care company, has taken 6,000 square feet, and RĀKO Coffee, a women-owned specialty coffee shop and natural wine bar, has nabbed 1,750 square feet. Both retailers are slated to open in the second quarter of 2023.

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“I always look for developments that have a lot of energy and excitement around them,” District Dogs owner Jacob Hensley told Commercial Observer. “When we heard Amazon (AMZN) was coming into Virginia, I found myself in the right place at the right time and we put a good pitch together for Amazon to try and show why we were the best, and we consider ourselves very fortunate that it worked out.”

Amazon has committed to bring local and minority-owned retailers to HQ2, as it looks to fill approximately 140,000 square feet of retail space between Metropolitan Park and PenPlace, which combined will make up HQ2.

District Dogs, a locally owned D.C.-based business, offers overnight boarding, dog day care, grooming, training and in-home pet-training services. The retailer’s space will be at the base of one of the Metropolitan Park office buildings on South Eads Street, between 14th and 15th streets. This marks District Dogs’ sixth location in the Washington, D.C., region, and second in Northern Virginia.

The company will occupy approximately 5,700 square feet on the ground floor, as well as a mezzanine level that will bring the total to a little more than 6,000 square feet. District Dogs is currently working with its construction manager, architect and the Amazon team on the final design.

“We’re working on some renderings for Amazon to get their approval now,” Hensley said. “The space is so big, with large ceiling heights, so we have a lot of room to play with. The mezzanine is giving us a lot of flexibility. We’ll have a yellow staircase when people walk in with some cool lighting and it’s going to be our best-looking location.”

RĀKO Coffee, owned by sisters Lisa Gerben and Melissa Gerben, is a coffee business that specializes in crafted espresso drinks and a natural wine program. The retailer will set up shop on 14th Street, between South Eads and South Elm streets. Additionally, RĀKO will also operate a 250-square-foot lobby kiosk in Metropolitan Park.

“When I heard the news, I expressed my interest and put together a proposal with my broker team at KLNB and they helped us put together a great package,” Lisa Gerben told CO. “We’re grateful that Amazon is seeking out small, emerging businesses that ordinarily wouldn’t have this sort of exposure.” 

The company opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in August at 2016 Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon, Va. It also has an espresso cart in the Cannon House Office Building of the House of Representatives, which opened in September.

 “Every design we do is a bit different,” Gerben said. “The common thread is it will be a restorative environment, an oasis where people can take a place from the day and recharge.”

Construction is expected to start in winter 2022 with a planned opening of spring 2023. 

“We want to help create an 18-hour district that people want to drive to, not just drive through, and the businesses we attract to this neighborhood will be a big piece of that,” Joe Chapman, director of Amazon global real estate and facilities, said in a prepared statement. “We can’t wait for the entire community to get to enjoy these new additions.”

Keith Loria can be reached at