Archstone Breaks Ground on TOD Apartments in Suburban D.C.

Gaithersburg, Md.–Archstone has broken ground on a 389-unit apartment complex plus retail space in Gaithersburg, Md., a far northwest suburb of Washington, D.C. The project, Archstone Old Towne, is on a 6.5-acre site directly across from the Gaithersburg MARC Rail Station, a commuter rail stop that will provide residents with direct access to downtown Washington.

Archstone Old Towne will include both one- and two-bedroom apartments in four floors, as well as about 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Among the apartment complex’s amenities will be a “beach-entry lagoon-style pool,” a fitness center, pet-grooming salon, a resident greenhouse and an above-ground parking garage, according to the developer.

One of the attractions of building in Gaithersburg, according to Archstone, is the concentration of biotechnology businesses in the area, a growth industry that’s expected to stimulate demand for residential properties. The Gaithersburg project is the second major apartment development Archstone has undertaken recently in metro Washington. In July 2010, the company broke ground on Archstone NoMa in DC’s NoMa Business Improvement District.

“As for development in the D.C. MSA, there remain fewer opportunities than necessary to meet the continued demand for housing,”  Rob Seldin, Archstone’s senior vice president of development for the east region, tells MHN. “This is largely due to the fact that almost all multifamily site plan approvals must navigate a highly charged political approval process, and the majority of jurisdictions are still hesitant to vote in favor of the necessary growth.”

The Gaithersburg development is being funded primarily through an $89.9 million FHA-insured Section 221(d)4 loan through CWCapital. The NoMa development was similarly funded with an FHA-insured loan through CWCapital.

The apartments are part of a master plan to redevelop the historic downtown core of Gaithersburg. Also in the works for the area is an unrelated 300-unit apartment development by Woodfield Investment LLC, the Residences at Hidden Creek, about a half a mile away from Archstone Old Towne. Archstone hired Preston Partnership L.L.C. to design the project, whose design will pay homage to historic structures in Gaithersburg.

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