Bovis Lend Lease Tapped to Build Mixed-Use TOD in Maryland

Odenton, Md.--The Village at Odenton Station, a 400,000 square-foot mixed-use residential project near Baltimore and D.C., moves closer towards realization.

Odenton, Md.–The Village at Odenton Station, a 400,000 square-foot mixed-use residential project in Odenton, Md., moves closer towards realization as The Dolben Company, the force behind the transit-oriented development, brings Bovis Lend Lease on board to spearhead construction.

The Village marks the first step in the development of Odenton Town Center, a master-planned community that will span more than 1,600 acres in Anne Arundel County, approximately 20 miles south of Baltimore and fewer than 30 miles north of Washington, D.C. The four-building luxury apartment project will sit across from the Odenton MARC Station and will also feature 57,000 square feet of retail space, a clock tower and a parking facility.

Bovis Lend Lease’s construction contract for the project is valued at approximately $37 million.

Given that the Village will sprout up just a stone’s throw from speedy public transportation, the property will be able to accommodate renters who work in neighboring Baltimore and D.C. but want to live in a suburban environment with the same luxury apartment options found in the big city. The demand is there. The average apartment vacancy rate is 4.6 percent in Baltimore, according to a fourth quarter 2010 report by Delta Associates, and  3.4 percent in the District, both well below the national average of 6.6 percent.

TODs play a central role in smart growth; however, such projects are not presently a priority for many developers. “People doing multifamily residential are looking for good locations–and financing,” James Deitrick, senior vice president with Bovis Lend Lease, tells MHN. “They’re looking for places where people want to live, where there is going to be demand for housing.” He says the Fort Meade area in Anne Arundel County is a key location for apartment development, as the U.S. Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure process will result in the relocation of 5,400 military and civilian employees to the base by 2015. That figure does not include the thousands of individuals who will descend on the area for the jobs that will be created by new government contractors and consumer services.

But strong demand is not enough to get multifamily developments off the ground in the current lending climate. “I’ve seen more people talking about projects [now] than a year ago, but financing is really the issue,” Deitrick notes. “Banks want to do refinancings or acquisition deals, not new construction.” Dolben did not have single-source bank financing for the Village endeavor.  Pre-leasing for the mixed-use apartment community is scheduled to commence this summer.