A nonprofit corporation, backed by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and county churches, plans to build a sprawling retirement complex in Prince George's County near the Capital Centre.

The $32 million project, tentatively known as the Collington Continuing Care Village, will include 180 single-story town houses and 120 apartments in three-story buildings, said Joseph Howell, the complex's developer.

The complex will include a main center housing a nursing care facility, dining room, coffee shop, auditorium, bank and other communal areas.

Residents will pay an entry fee of between $40,000 and $90,000 and a monthly maintenance charge of $500 to $900, Howell said. But Howell stressed that the project is cheaper than other senior citizen facilities in the area because the charge covers more than just boarding and health care. Howell said the monthly fees are considerably less than other nursing homes, which charge $1,200 to $1,300 monthly.

"The costs include rent, three meals a day, all health care and social activities," Howell said. "This is not a nursing home. It will be geared to middle-income senior citizens who can, and still want to, remain independent."

The developer plans to finance the project through county revenue bonds, which would be repaid by residents' fees.

A spokesman for the Washington Episcopal Diocese said the group already has helped build several housing projects for the elderly and poor and saw a need for this complex.

"We were seeking to fill a gap," he said. "There were no facilities for middle-income seniors who can take care of themselves and want to live in pleasant pastoral surroundings."

The project is contingent on state approval of the health center in the facility. Howell said he is confident it will be approved, despite initial skepticism by a state commission about the need for another nursing home in Prince George's County.

The corporation, Collington Episcopal Life Care Community Inc., was founded by the diocese and is governed by a board of directors composed of members of county churches and the diocese.