The Jefferson at Thomas Farm isn't a quick commute from downtown Washington, but that doesn't bother many residents. For some, it's what they like best about it.
"It's great for people who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city," said Kristie Malacki, the Jefferson's leasing and residence services manager, who lives at the property.
The 268-unit apartment complex in Rockville is part of a growing planned community called Fallsgrove. The development also includes townhouses, condominiums and single-family houses. The Jefferson consists of nine buildings -- five open for move-in and four under construction.
Although the community is just off I-270, a main commuting route, Jefferson residents tend to work nearby. While there is a bus to the Shady Grove Metro station, a commute either by subway or car into the District takes about an hour.
Tenants rave about the Jefferson's crisp, clean design and decor, as well as the walk-in closets and new appliances.
"It's new and convenient, and it doesn't feel like I'm living in an apartment," said Charlette Kenley, 34, who sold her home in Gaithersburg and moved to a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. "It's bigger than my townhouse was. . . . After working all day, this place is quiet and peaceful. It's definitely a place I'll stay until I'm ready to buy again."
Kenley, a single mother with an 8-year-old son, said she hasn't seen many children around the complex, which seems to cater to singles and young married couples. But for Kenley's son, and anyone else interested in activities, the clubhouse has a shiny new pool table, a foosball table and three television sets, as well as couches, chairs and tables. The room is open during normal business hours -- free snacks such as cookies and iced tea also lure residents -- and can be rented for evening use.
The complex also has a gym with 24-hour access. Its equipment includes elliptical machines, bikes, treadmills and free weights.
The business center, open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., provides free use of three flat-screen computers, a printer and a fax machine.
"I selected this place right way," said Inhu Song, 35, who moved into the Jefferson with his wife this spring after leaving New York. "Everything is new and very accessible to residents. I don't have to pay additionally for access to the facilities."
Several retailers signed on as part of the Fallsgrove planned community, providing easy access to services. Among the stores are a Safeway supermarket and chain restaurants including Chipotle, Jerry's Subs, Krispy Kreme and Starbucks. There is also a dry cleaners, spa, cell phone provider and flower shop.
The Jefferson also has access to the Rockville Millennium Trail for biking and walking. Meanwhile, baseball and soccer fields are under construction across the street from the entrance.
It's likely the community's civic group will organize leagues to play on the fields, the Jefferson's employees said. All residents of the Jefferson receive free membership to the Fallsgrove Civic Association, which organizes events and has a community pool.
The Jefferson also has a swimming pool, which is flanked by a covered patio and lawn area including two gas grills for residents' use.
Monthly rent at the Jefferson ranges from $1,165 to $1,935. About 35 units are set aside at reduced cost in accordance with a Rockville ordinance. Some residents said they were able to cut back on their costs further through a promotion in which the Jefferson offered 11/2 months free.
"I'd expect a place like this to cost" more, Song said. "It's very comfortable for me. It's unbelievable coming from the Manhattan area."