Redskins fan Darren Lewis probably feels nervous every year as the season opener nears, but this year's kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys will hit close to home: Lewis recently leased an apartment in Lansdowne Village, a Landover rental property practically a drop kick away from Redskins Stadium.

Some of Lansdowne Village's newer residents may have been attracted to the 345-unit complex because it is just northeast of the stadium--and some may have worried about it for the same reason--but Lansdowne Village has a lot more to offer prospective residents. It features an Olympic-sized pool, two tennis courts and a basketball court--if residents really need to steer clear of football from time to time.

In addition, the complex, built in 1962, offers 10 floor plans and spacious apartments, with at least one den-sized walk-in closet in every unit. "It's nice and roomy, and it has a lot of closet space," Darren Lewis's wife, Nicole, said. She cited the two walk-in closets in their apartment, a feature that comes in increasingly handy for a family still unpacking after their move from South Carolina.

Lewis also really likes the layout of the family's two-bedroom apartment with foyer. The way the apartment is laid out, she explained, the foyer and the living room are the only rooms a visitor sees upon entering. The kitchen and hallway to the bedrooms are out of sight. And, to add to the family's privacy, a big tree right in front of the apartment's balcony blocks any view from the outside.

In fact, mature trees surround the community's 10 low-rise buildings, which are spread out over approximately 20 acres. Chessie Wheeler-Blakey, a retired teacher who just moved to the area from South Dakota, especially enjoys taking walks around the complex, seeing them as an opportunity to get to know her neighbors. Spending time around the community's seven playgrounds is one of her favorite pastimes. "Lots of children play there, which I love to see," she said.

Plenty of public transportation is also a plus at Lansdowne Village, which is served by two bus lines. Along one of the routes, a ride to Landover Mall takes less than 10 minutes. The buses also quickly connect tenants to the Addison Road station on Metro's Blue Line and, a little bit farther, to the Landover station on the Orange Line.

For drivers, the community is centrally located and minutes from the Capital Beltway. But resident Reba Whitaker sticks with public transportation, traveling to Washington by bus and Metro to go shopping, banking or just run errands. A longtime Prince George's County resident, Whitaker also appreciates the tranquillity of her complex. Lansdowne Village "is a calm, casual, laid-back" community, she said. "It's a good area to live in."

The calm of Lansdowne Village stands out for resident Annette Prophet, who lives there with her five children. Traffic, she said, can be bad in the area when it's the first or the last game of the season, but it means little more than a temporary detour. "It's not a big problem," she said. "It's pretty quiet around here."

From time to time, however, that quiet is happily disturbed: The management staff tries to spice up things at the complex by throwing parties for residents of all ages. The 11-member staff recently held a pool party, and a back-to-school party is scheduled.

The property is managed by Kay Management Co., a real estate firm based in Silver Spring that manages more than 12,000 units in Maryland and Virginia. Property manager Carole Burrell not only leads the Kay Management team at Lansdowne Village but also lives at the complex. For her, being on the spot at work and at home makes a big difference. Living there means you "really know when something's wrong in your community," she said. If you just walk away at 5 p.m., she explained, "you don't know what's going on."

Three other staff members also live in the community. "It's a feeling of home that means a lot for the residents," Burrell said.

And since that home is so close to the Redskins action, Lansdowne residents are getting ready for "Dallas Week." Darren Lewis longs for tickets. Prophet's three oldest boys will most likely be around the stadium watching the crowds of fans.

Whitaker also intends to watch a game at some point, and she has good feelings about the stadium that go beyond the team. She says it contributes to the Landover area, generating business and jobs.

But in at least one Lansdowne Village unit, one heart will not beat to the Redskins' tune:

"I just love those Cowboys," Nicole Lewis said.

LANSDOWNE VILLAGE

1720 Brightseat Rd.

Landover, Md. 20785

301-484-1000

* Application fee: $25 each applicant

* Security deposit: $200, refundable

* Lease term: Six months to a year

* Utilities: Water and sewer included

* Amenities: On-site day-care center; playgrounds; swimming pool; two tennis courts; basketball court; 24-hour maintenance

* Parking: Free outdoor parking

* Pet policy: Cats only

APARTMENT SIZE QUANTITY SQUARE FEET MONTHLY RENTAL

EFFICIENCY 2 N/A $575 to $605

1BR/1BA 95 722 $590 to $645

2 BR/1BA 224 860 to 900 $635 to $720

3 BR/1 1/2 BA 24 934 $815 to $875