New York City real estate firm yesterday signed a contract that could lead to development this year of the prominent Pentagon City tract in South Arlington into a complex of office buildings, apartments and commercial properties.

The contract provides Rose Associates with a series of options to acquire and develop 85 of the total 116-acre site over a 15-year period. Zonning for the 85 acres opposite the Pentagon and east of the Rivei House apartments would permit development of 5,680 apartment units. 1,2500000 square feet of office space, 2,000 hotel rooms and 800,0000 square feet of retail space.

The property, former site of the Washington Buich and Terra Co., is owned by the heirs of the late Morris Cafritz and the late Charles H. Tompkins, both local builders.

A spokesman for the Cafritz Co., which made the announcement here, said the Cafritz-Tompkins interests will contribute 12 acres of the tract to Arlington County for a park.

Another aspect of the development involves Claridge Associates.This local group, headed by developer-builder Maurice Lipnick, has acquired 14 acreas for development of a nursing home, townhouses and federally subsidized housing for the elderly.

Liphick said the Richmarr Construction Corp., a major residential builder here, will build 220 town-houses on an 8-acre site and that Joseph Vucich will build a nursing home on another part of the tract. Lipnick plans, inconjunction with the Virginia Housing Development Authority, to build 300 units of housing for the elderly.

Land for a library, community hall and firehouse has been contributed to Arlington County as a part of that phase of development.

A spokesman for the Cafritz Co. said the market value of the total Pentagon City tract was an estimated $31 million. One of the features of the site is that it includes a Metro station on the line scheduled ot open this summer from RFK stadium to National Airport.

Earlier, the Cafritz Co. had developed the 1,800-unit River House apartment complex on a part of the orignal Pentagon City site and had sold 15 acres to Western Electric for a repair center on the site.

Recently Arlington County Circuit Judge Paul D. Brown upheld an Arlington County Board decision to permit the development of the office, apartment and commercial complex on the site. Seven members of the Pentahgon City Coordinating COmmittee, a group that opposed the development plan, had filed a suit against the county.

An attorney for the Cafritz-Tompkins interests said an appeal on Judge Brown's decision has been made to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Dewberry, Nealon and Davis, a planning, engineering and architectural firm, had done the development plan for the latest Pentagon City center which will include underground parking for 1,000 cars, plus walkways and bicylce pathe in the residential areas. Generally, the height limit for this mixed use zoning is 16 stories for apartments in Arlington and 12 stories for office buildings.

Rose Assorciates, which will have the major role in the development of the Pentagon City tract, is a privately held New York firm h