Just nine months ago, Ted Flynn, vice president of J.F. Forstmann Co., could look out over the company's 250 acres in Frederick County and imagine the office buildings, hotels, shops and restaurants that would soon cover the farmland.

Flynn no longer has to use his imagination. His Westview project is gradually becoming a reality as bulldozer and crane operators begin construction of several office buildings that are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Frederick County officials said the buildings will help make 1988 a record year for office construction. By year-end, the county expects to have at least 500,000 square feet of new office space -- nearly twice the amount constructed last year.

While the expected amount of new space in Frederick is barely one-third the new construction anticipated in Fairfax County this year, Frederick County officials face a crucial year in which they have to deal with a growing list of new priorities. Not only must they be concerned about filling the office space at a time when there are fears of a recession, but they must also make sure there are enough roads, housing, schools and water and sewer facilities.

"We're pretty surprised how strong the market is," said David M. Wilkinson, coordinator of the county's Economic and Community Development Commission. "But the big fear is that if a recession does hit, there's going to be a lot less expansion of business in the D.C. area. And that would put a damper on everybody's year."

Even with the possibility of limited business expansion this year, developers and builders are proceeding with their plans. Since May, Marriott Corp. has opened a 67,000-square-foot international computer operations facility at Westview; Standard Federal Savings and Loan has broken ground for a 210,000-square-foot operations facility, and the Williamson Group is nearly half done with construction of the first of three 50,000-square-foot, two-story office buildings. The Manekin Corp., which is building the 500,000-square-foot 270 Technology Park project, recently won county approval to begin Ballenger Creek Center, a $75 million, 116-acre development off I-270.

In recent months, the county, which is about 45 miles northwest of the District, has stepped up efforts to attract businesses. It produced its first marketing video, which replaces the slide program that officials had used to sell their region to prospective companies. It also produced a "Site Selection Workbook" to help companies compare key characteristics of several sites to help them decide where to locate. The strength of the labor market, the availability and cost of utilities, tax rates and the quality of schools are among the factors executives are asked to rate before deciding.

Frederick officials have been trying to keep pace with the rapid development by approving a revised zoning ordinance to accommodate the commercial and industrial construction.

The county commissioners also appointed a nine-member Capital Financing Committee two months ago to make recommendations on ways to raise money for schools, water and sewer facilities, local roads and other key county services.

The committee, made up of county officials, builders and residents, is expected to produce its report in April.

The county has made a key road improvement -- construction of Crestwood Boulevard, which intersects Rte. 85 and passes through the Westview development site.

"We're growing very quickly and the board {of commissioners} is working very hard to come up with growth management tools like many other people in the area," said J. Anita Stup, president of the county commissioners.

Frederick's builders and developers are trying to attract the same kind of tenants. Ideally, they want a Fortune 500 company that needs a regional office or a high-technology company that needs space for research or light assembly. But many developers also realize that they have to cater in special ways to these national firms as they expand in the area.

"We figure the major deals will come from larger companies who are already in the Washington metro area looking to get away from the traffic and looking for a good labor force," said Frank Mondell, executive vice president of the Williamson Group, which is building Corporate Court at Westview. "Sure, there's a lot of space in the area. But while there's a lot of space, it won't meet the needs of certain people. Even with our project, we know it's not going to be for everybody."

Robert A. Manekin, senior vice president of Manekin Corp., said office buildings in Frederick will appeal to a new market -- firms that want less expensive space and to be closer to the work force. He said an estimated 40,000 Frederick residents commute each day to Montgomery, Prince George's or Fairfax counties and downtown Washington.

"There's going to be more space developed out here in the next 18 months ... than there was in the previous three to five years," he said. "And as long as there's the ever-increasing demand for space coming north on I-270, there's going to be enough absorption to meet virtually all of the builders' expectations."