A last-minute agreement between attorneys for business owners at the Suitland Center in Suitland, Md. and the Prince George’s County Revenue Authority, extended the move out date to Jan. 5, 2018. In the agreement, the county waived the business owners’ last 90 days of rent to help with the move.

Suitland Center

Antonio Lindsay says he quit his job as an information technology specialist at a major law firm and took his life savings and retirement fund to start The Perfume Chick Galleria in Suitland, Md. He says when he received the news, about a month ago, that he had to move because of the sale of his leased property to the county revenue authority, he was devastated.

Lindsay, who had just signed a new lease with the former owner, is one of seven minority business owners located at the center, in the 4700 block of Suitland Road, that are moving or being forced to close because of redevelopment plans by the authority.

The agreement will impact owners of The Perfume Chick Galleria, A Touch of Heaven Print, Pack and Shipping, Capital Discount Merchandise, Claros Braiding and Barber, San Carlos Bakery, Skulling Ink Tattoo, and Tienda Karina Spanish. Two other businesses with separate landlords are also negotiating their moves to new locations.

Capital Discount Merchandise has already closed their doors. Lindsey says The Perfume Chick has found a new location near the 3400 block of Branch Avenue in Temple Hills, Md. and Skulling Ink Tattoo has moved to a strip mall in Clinton, Md. where it now operates.

Under the agreement, which has been sealed by a gag order, the county gets to move forward with the demolition and renovation of the project and the businesses get to stay and make money through the lucrative holiday season. Originally, several business owners were given until the end of November to move.

“We feel this was a win-win for all concerned,” their attorney eDena Mas’sie told the AFRO. “We worked real hard with the county to get this done and in the end, we believe this was the best resolution for all concerned parties.”

On Oct. 27, Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge William Snoddy denied an emergency injunction by the owners who were attempting to have what they said were illegal evictions stopped.

Several members of the community are happy the area is being transformed from small retail shops to what is expected to be single family homes and a senior citizen center. “This area has been a problem for quite some time,” said Suitland Action Team President Elsie Jacobs. “Now we can move forward. We wanted to do the right thing in giving them more time (to relocate).” The Suitland Action Team is a community-based organization that combats crime and works to increase resources for low income residents by partnering with the Prince George’s County Government and non-profit agencies.

The Prince George’s County Revenue Authority could not be reached for comment by press time.