Northwest Chinese Food, Pho Thom and Ritchie’s Colombian Restaurant in College Park could be forced to relocate as soon as 2025 if the county approves plans for a new mixed-use apartment building development.
The property at the corner of Hartwick Road and Route 1 is owned by Terrapin Main Street, LLC, which is a subsidiary of realty company Greenhill Capital Corporation and Richard Greenberg.
Greenberg and his attorney Matthew Tedesco presented a detailed site plan to the College Park City Council Tuesday night for a proposed apartment building and retail space called Terrapin House. The plan involves 93 multi-family units, a 4800-square-foot retail space and a two-level parking lot.
Greenberg has owned the property for more than three decades. In addition to the restaurants, the property is currently home to a two-story house that was built in 1915, a multi-family building known as Yale House and a specimen tree the city is aiming to protect.
If the mixed-use development plans are approved, the house and restaurants could be relocated. Tedesco estimated the costs associated with those relocations would be in the “mid-six-figure” range.
Current tenants and business owners on the property have not been informed of the project yet, Greenberg said.
“We have not had conversations with tenants. It’s premature, and it’s only premature because I don’t know what our timing is,” Greenberg said. “I don’t want to lose tenants prematurely.”
Developers will likely seek a county permit for the mixed-use development project in six to eight months or sooner. The project was first presented to the council in March 2021, and city officials supported the Terrapin House’s preliminary development plan in May 2022. The Prince George’s County planning department has final say over the new development.
Tedesco and Greenberg have worked with the council since Terrapin House’s introduction to ensure plans address the development’s impact on the Old Town College Park Historic District, according to Tedesco.
“Rich and his partners … have partnered with the city with respect to making sure they deliver a project that not only they can be proud of, but that you all can be proud of,” Tedesco said. “I feel very confident sitting before you tonight saying that we’ve done that.”
District 3 council member Stuart Adams emphasized that the three restaurants on the property are valuable parts of the city. The business’ importance to the community should be heavily weighed as development plans progress, Adams said.
“Those are beloved by so many people, not only in the city, but in the region,” Adams said. “We’re going to be looking to y’all to be very accommodating of notice on when they have to leave their space, and we’d love to see every opportunity for them to come back.”
Greenberg said he is a former restaurant owner and understands community concerns around losing Northwest Chinese, Pho Thom and Ritchie’s Colombian.
All three restaurants may be welcome to move into the retail space included in the property, Tedesco added.
The development news comes as the business landscape in College Park is facing a slew of changes. A new mixed-use development on the Campus Village Shoppes property is set to replace several small businesses and restaurants. Most Campus Village Shoppes businesses will close before the end of this year, while some have already vacated.
The future of the tree and house on the proposed Terrapin House property were also a topic of debate Tuesday.
According to Erik Valentine, the city’s community development planner, both city and council staff believe the house should be documented on the state’s inventory of historical properties and destroyed, rather than relocated, because of the costs associated with moving it.
Tedesco said those working on the development plans have also connected with an arborist to ensure the tree’s survival if the development is approved.
District 3 council member John Rigg said that despite concerns, the council trusts that Greenberg will keep his word regarding the new development.
“You’re somebody who’s known in the city of College Park. You’ve always been a pretty stand-up stakeholder in our community,” Rigg said. “You’re giving us your word that you’re going to work closely with these tenants to try to accommodate their future in the building.”