At Springfield Station apartments, temptation is right across the street: Springfield Mall, filled with 230 stores, including several of Kim McPheron's favorites. On a budget and having just relocated to the Washington area, McPheron stays away from most of them while enjoying the benefits of her apartment complex's convenient location. "But it's definitely tempting," she said.

Like McPheron, several Springfield Station residents were attracted to the property by its location. The gated community is not only next to Macy's, Wards and JC Penney at the mall, but also within walking distance of the Franconia-Springfield station on Metro's Orange Line. In addition, Interstate 95, Interstate 395 and the Capital Beltway are nearby.

Springfield Station is a new complex, another fact that attracted McPheron and other tenants. Its first residents moved in in May 1998, and the last of the community's nine buildings began leasing this month. The complex has seven garden-style and two mid-rise buildings in about 17 acres of landscaped area.

For property manager Donna Baez, the different building styles and the 19 distinct floor plans are responsible for the community's variety. According to Baez, Springfield Station attracts young professionals as well as families and senior citizens. "We have a good mix of people," she said.

Like any number of apartment complexes in the Washington area, Springfield Station concerns itself with more than just putting a roof over the residents' heads; it sometimes entertains them. The 12-person staff organizes at least one party a month at the clubhouse or by the pool. Past get-togethers included an Easter egg hunt and a late-July pool party, and a margarita party is lined up for next month.

In addition, a gift program welcomes new residents with free goods and discounts at nearby stores and businesses.

Chris and Lisa Smith, who moved in in April after a bad experience in an Alexandria rental property, take advantage of the gift program, and the whole family enjoys Springfield Station's amenities. If bored at home, Chris will go to the clubhouse and play pool, while the Smiths' 6-year-old, Hollyanne, and 5-year-old, Alex, are fond of the pool and the tot lot.

For John and Denise Pappas, who relocated to Virginia from Massachusetts, the Springfield area has been a wonderful experience. Of all the locations the family looked at, including Arlington and Alexandria, Springfield was the most family-oriented, Denise Pappas found.

Now after a year at Springfield Station, which is managed and owned by Arlington-based Charles E. Smith Residential Realty Inc., the family has adapted very well, she said. Her two boys, Lee, 13, and Mark, 8, fit in nicely at the local public schools and found their favorite spots for football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball right next to their community.

Family-oriented entertainment is also available within the complex. The Pappases, for example, spend time together at the pool table and recently rented the clubhouse to celebrate a family event. And when it is time for a little privacy, in their spacious three-bedroom apartment, "I don't even hear the children in the other side," Denise Pappas said.

In fact, in some units the living room separates the bedrooms, an important feature for roommates Jim Young and Charles Love. Both have lots of privacy in their two-bedroom apartment, Young said. Springfield Station was also their choice because it was equally convenient for Young, who works at Andrews Air Force Base, and Love, who works at the Pentagon.

But Springfield Station's friendly atmosphere was the first thing that caught their attention. They were sold, Love said, the minute they walked in. "The friendliness of the leasing staff should be overemphasized," Love said.

The men's apartment features a big screen door that leads to the balcony and triple windows that let in lots of light. "You walk in the apartment and everything is just so bright," Love said.

Some units not only have a balcony or patio but a sun room with triple windows as well. Each apartment has at least one walk-in closet and a full-size washer and dryer. Some units feature vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans, fireplaces, large windowsills and oversize bathtubs. Kitchens are wired for cable TV and have gas ranges and microwave ovens.

But for Danita Moore, who is renting her own place for the first time, the most significant of Springfield Station's amenities and features is the security system. "I feel pretty secure here," she said.

Each apartment door has an alarm, and the community is gated. In the coming months, property manager Baez said, surveillance cameras will be placed at gates and lobbies to increase safety.

SPRINGFIELD STATION

6802 Junction Blvd.

Springfield, Va. 22150

703-313-4450

* Application fee: $35 per applicant

* Security deposit: None; $300 nonrefundable moving fee

* Lease term: One year; short-term options available

* Utilities: Not included

* Amenities: Swimming pool; tennis court; pool table; tot lot; fitness center; business center with free Internet access; conference room; party room with full kitchen; storage rooms; 24-hour maintenance

* Parking: Free outdoor lot; garages, $75 to $125 per month

* Pet policy: Cats only ($200 nonrefundable pet fee)

APARTMENT SIZE

QUANTITY

SQUARE FEET

MONTHLY RENTAL

EFFICIENCY

1

505

$750

1BR/1BA

336

632 to 863

$875 to $1,090

1BR/1BA/LOFT

32

689

$1,105

2BR/2BA

202

1,043 to 1,300

$1,230 to $1,575

2 BR/2 BA/LOFT

36

1,293

$1,400

3BR/2BA

24

1,319

$1,460 to $1,470