COLLEGE PARK, Md. (DC News Now) — Business owners at a College Park shopping center near the University of Maryland now have less than a month to pack up their stores and leave. The new shopping center owners plan to build new student housing there, but many of the store owners say they have nowhere to go.

“A lot of crying, no business now, no more opportunities,” said Sue Hui, manager of College Park Liquors.

College Park Liquors has been at Campus Village Shoppers for more than 30 years. Hui, along with all of the other business owners on the strip, received a 60-day notice on Aug. 1 saying their leases will end on Sept. 30.

The letter reads in part:

“Pursuant to Section 12.01 of the Lease Agreement, Lessor has the option to terminate the Lease Agreement upon written notice to Lessee. This letter shall serve as a written notice that Lessor is exercising its right to terminate the Lease Agreement and require Lessee to vacate the property. The termination of the Lease Agreement shall be effective as of September 30, 2023 (the “Termination Date”).”

Business owners say they were aware the new owners “LV Collective” planned on redeveloping the property, but that they were told they had until 2024. Many of them were shocked to learn now they only had until the end of September.

“We still have a couple more years on our lease. Because of loopholes within the law, the little gray areas [they’re] going to go through and have us lose so much money but also sacrifice and reposition ourselves within the community,” said Jonathan Valdez, manager for Vape Exchange.

Vape Exchange has been there for nearly a decade. Finding a new place is hard since no liquor stores or tobacco shops can be under student buildings.

“If they would stay to the original contract, [or] gave us to the year, they would have been awesome, you know, we could plan out better,” said Valdez.

College Park Liquors created a GoFundMe seeking help from the community to help find a new location.

“I hope that people can help us out so we can find a new place,” said Hui.

Jino Song opened Box’d Kitchen one year ago. He says the previous owners did not inform him about the redevelopment until after he signed a 10-year lease. Now he’s frustrated about having to close his business, and he wants some form of compensation.

“We just lose. I spent $310,000 to build this. It’s a shame that we have to just be forced out this way, said Song.

While the change is to open new student housing, some students say they’re not too happy about the shopping center closing.

“To remove so many things that are so important to the area in terms of like culturally, just being a student here is kind of ridiculous and upsetting,” said Willow Houk.

Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for LV Collective, the new owners of the shopping center property, sent DC News Now this statement:

Desiring to be good partners, we had a personal conversation one year ago with every tenant at the Campus Village Shoppes and notified them of our intent to redevelop. Nearly all tenants have agreed to compensation and LV is actively negotiating with the remaining few. We have partnered with some tenants to come back to the new development once completed. We have worked with each tenant individually and are committed to our partnership with the community. We look forward to continuing to support these businesses.

LV Collective

The city of College Park says they’re hoping these businesses will stay in the College Park area.