An Owings Mills group is launching work on five new apartment complexes in the Mid-Atlantic at a cost of $186.5 million, all in areas it says have high demand but little new construction.

Projects under way by Chesapeake Realty Partners, a residential and commercial builder, include three complexes in the area — in Federal Hill, Belcamp and Ellicott City — and others in Harrisburg, Pa., and downtown Manassas, Va. The projects will have a total 1,260 units.

Lawrence M. Macks, Chesapeake Realty's chief executive officer, said the group is taking advantage of what it expects to be a strong multi-family market over the next five years.

Work is underway at 1901 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, a 193-unit project with attached parking. The developers are financing the project through a $29 million FHA-insured new construction loan. They expect it to be ready for the first residents by the middle of next year.

In Harford County, workers have started clearing and grading for the multi-phase Reserve at Riverside, off I-95 at Route 543 in Belcamp.

The project is part of a small group of new apartments that have been built in the last few years in response to the influx of workers in and around Aberdeen Proving Ground as part of the national military base realignment.

Plans call for 212 units in the first phase and 188 more in the second phase. The first new apartments, financed with a $30.8 million FHA-insured loan, are to be completed by next fall.

Chesapeake Realty and a partner, Orchard Development, plan to start work this fall on 144 new apartments and a community center adjacent to the existing Ellicott Meadows complex in Ellicott City.

The partners, who have begun managing the 96-unit Ellicott Meadows, say they expect strong demand for a spot near the intersection of I-70 and Routes 29 and 40 and near North Ridge Road, which will be extended through the community. The said the first apartments should be completed by fall 2012.

The two out-of-state projects are The Overlook, a 288-unit community near Harrisburg, scheduled for completion by spring, and a joint venture project to develop The Courts at Historic Manassas, a139- unit rental community one block from a commuter rail station in Virginia. Construction of two 56-unit buildings is scheduled to start this month. An initial 27-unit building is already occupied.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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