Beltsville native Richard K. "Chip" Reed has his hand in many of the real estate deals in Prince George's County and is a true believer in development: He says many of those projects will improve the county's business climate.

As a land-use lawyer for Wilkes, Artis, Hedrick & Lane, a zoning and real estate law firm headquartered in Washington, Reed represents developers in residential developments such as Beech Tree in Upper Marlboro and Northridge in Bowie. He's also the lawyer representing the Bowie Gateway Center, Bowie Crossing, the Maryland Trade Center and the Greenbelt retail and mixed-use developments.

Reed, 41, works mostly out of the firm's Greenbelt office. That has given him perspective, he said, about the state of development in Prince George's. Surveying the work of his colleagues in Wilkes, Artis's offices in Washington, Bethesda and Fairfax, "you get a feel for the maturity of those markets relative to these markets." Bottom line: "I would like to see the quality of those markets come here," Reed said.

Reed, a member of the Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce, will take over as president of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce in 2001.

"We're focused on Metro development," Reed said.

Within five years, he said, developments near Metro stations close to the Largo Town Center and Summerfield and on Branch Avenue will help spawn mixed-use development and quality retail of the sort the county needs.

Reed, a native of Beltsville and a graduate of the University of Baltimore law school, believes that Prince George's could be a model for smart-growth success if planners, developers and political leaders focus on concentrating development near Metro stations. Although his livelihood is in Prince George's, Reed lives with his wife and two children in Bethesda in neighboring Montgomery County.

CAPTION: Greenbelt lawyer Richard K. "Chip" Reed represents developers in residential developments such as Beech Tree in Upper Marlboro and Northridge in Bowie.