Bringing apartments to 19.37 acres near the Branch Avenue Metro Station, Archstone-Smith received approval last month from the Prince George's County Planning Department for Town Center at Camp Springs. Located on the east and west sides of Capital Gateway Drive and Auth Way, Archstone will create 801 rental apartments with 65,359 s.f. of retail in an effort to bring young professionals to the now under-developed section of Prince George's County.
What is their goal? "Humans," said Archstone-Smith Senior Vice President, Rob Seldin. "There's a lot to it. We're trying to take what is now a disaggregated series of different uses and put them together and use our project as a mechanism to create a community."
Seldin said the majority of Archstone apartment residents are between the ages of 25 and 36 and have at least a bachelor's degree. "We have about 85,000 units with 240,000 residents throughout the US. If Archstone was a city, it would be the wealthiest, most highly educated city in the US. We are very focused and targeted on expanding our brand within that demographic segment of the population."
While the Camp Springs project is still in the planning stage, according to the detailed site plan, it will be completed in three phases. Phase one will deliver 416 units, a 7,000 s.f. private club house, and a pool. Phase two will follow suit with similar amenities and 385 units. Phase three will be the retail space. The project will offer over 1,500 parking spaces for residents and shoppers at completion.
Seldin said the town center may even bring more jobs to PG County and that one of the things that drew the developer to the site was its proximity to not only Branch Avenue, but also Andrew's Air Force Base with 22,000 employees and the Suitland Federal Center with 9,500 employees.
"You have a very high concentration of reasonably highly compensated and educated employees working there, and no great place for them to choose to live. For us, this was an opportunity to give these people a chance to live where they work. It's difficult to create housing anywhere, in PG County, it is typically very difficult to have housing approved, so really, what's been happening is these highly educated, highly skilled, highly compensated workers have been systematically disenfranchised, so they go to Arlington, because they welcome them. Arlington knows that these people are great residents, everything good flows from an influx of successful young people. That was our market concept for what we think we would like the Branch Avenue are to expand into," said Seldin.
"If we can begin to recast this location as where this demographic can live, it will help foster entrepreneurial opportunities because office space is inexpensive there," he added.
The developer will finish its purchase of the now-vacant land from a private owner after the project receives all necessary approvals. Seldin said Archstone-Smith hopes to break ground in fall 2009. The Preston Partnership, LLC is the architectural team through entitlement; their portfolio includes the Alexan Dunn Loring in Falls Church and the Ketlands in Gaithersburg.