One of the most luxurious subdivisions in Montgomery County is planned for a 212-acre tract in North Bethesda and may displace R. Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver from their leased mansion.

Peter J. Berman, president of building for Berger/Berman Builders Inc., said yesterday he has purchased an option on the tract and plans 600 new residences possibly ranging in cost from $150,000 to $500,000.

The estate the Shrivers have rented since 1961 - with its swimming pool, touch football field, golf course and stable - is located on the land between Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road.

Although the transaction between the developer and the property owners has not been completed, leaving uncertain the fate of the Shriver estate, Shriver said yesterday he has been looking at other housing just in case.

"Anyplace you're renting, it's always possible you'll have to leave," Shriver, a Washington lawyer, said. There is a chance that the family may stay on as tenant or owner.

The developer's plans call for custom-built homes on one-third-acres lots, some with swimming pools and tennis courts.

Just north of Interstate, 270, the site is owned by Karl W. Corby and his sister, Mary Ellen Corby Brewer, wife of former Maryland Racing Commissioner J. Newton Brewer.

The wooded tract is northwest of the Grosvenor Park apartments and west of Georgetown Preparatory School and within walking distance of a new Metro station under construction on Rockville Pike. Adjacent to the Metro station is another former Corby tract, which the country recently purchased for an elaborate cultural and performing arts center. North of the proposed center is White Flint Mall.

Although some of the homes would have swimming pools and tennis courts, there would be no community recreational facilities, he said. The neighbour will attract "the kind of Montgomery County buyer" who wants those amenities at home, Berman said.

Partly because of the new Metro site, the county's master plan for the property calls for a planned community with multifamily housing, noted John Matthews, chief of community planning for the western part of Montgomery County. Several other multifamily developments are proposed or under construction in that area, he said.

"We were disappointed that they want to go ahead with single-family housing so close to the Metro station, but since they want to build at a lower density than the land is zoned, there is nothing we can do about it," Matthews said. "Obviously their perceptions of the market is that they can make more with single-family homes."

The county's master plan also provides for extension of Edson Lane, which terminates at the Shriver estate, all the way through the property from Rockville Pike to Old Georgetown Road.

That factor complicates the question regarding the future of the Shiver complex, Berman said.