Charles County, Md.–Saint Charles, a 9,100-acre master planned community that American Community Properties Trust (ACPT) is developing in Charles County in Southern Maryland, continues to fill out. The company just broke ground on Gleneagles II, a 120-residence apartment community that will increase ACPT’s portfolio of rental units in Saint Charles to over 2,500.
Located approximately 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and 50 miles south of Baltimore, Saint Charles is a mixed-use destination that offers its residents a community with such amenities as extensive hiking and biking trails, an 18-hole golf course and a stadium to accommodate the local professional baseball team and entertainment events. Gleneagles II will sit across from its sister property, Gleneagles Apartments, which, having opened its doors in March of this year with 184 units, is presently 70 percent leased. Gleneagles II’s one-, two- and three-bedroom units will debut in summer 2011.
“Our experience with the first Gleneagles project over the last year made us recognize that there continues to be a strong demand for reasonably priced fair market rental housing in St. Charles, because new residents see it as a dynamic and thriving community,” Craig Renner, ACPT Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations, tells MHN. “As the owner and developer of St. Charles, and having zoning and infrastructure improvements in place, we are well-positioned to quickly capitalize on that demand. Given those advantages, we believed this to be an excellent time to move forward.”
Charles County is part of Washington, D.C.’s Suburban Maryland market, which, after having taken a few hits from the economic downturn, is back on track. In the second quarter, demand increased 0.7 percent, as per a report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. Another indicator of the market’s standing is the monthly rental rate; in Suburban Maryland, after an uptick in the first quarter, the rate rose again in the second quarter by nearly 1 percent. The growth had a broad impact on the area’s numbers. “Driven by larger increases in Maryland and Virginia, metro-wide asking rents inched up 0.7 percent in the second quarter,” as noted in the Marcus & Millichap report. Suburban Maryland kicked off the year showing rental rate improvement that far exceeded most other metropolitan areas in the country. According to commercial real estate research firm Reis Inc., Suburban Maryland, along with the Seattle area, experienced the fourth largest increase in asking rents in the first quarter, soaring above the national average increase of 0.3 percent.
“People are finding out that they can have the best features of Suburban Maryland–good schools, a great selection of restaurants, retail shopping, and recreational opportunities–pay less for attractive, quality homes and apartments, and enjoy a less hectic pace of life,” Renner says. “That’s the appeal of St. Charles.” And there most certainly is room for growth in St. Charles. The community, which already encompasses an aggregate 12,000 dwellings, is zoned to accommodate over 24,000 housing units at full build-out.