The Reserve at May Hill, a five-acre development of single-family houses in Fairfax County, Va., offers a glimpse behind the scenes at how a new community springs up.

Rose Hill Farm Drive radiates off May Boulevard in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County and ends in a cul-de-sac. There will be 12 homes lining the street.

Several home sites are bare, with signs advertising lots for sale. One wood-frame structure without a roof and a couple of houses covered in white house wrap are works in progress. And there’s a finished — and furnished — model house.

“Chances are good that our house will be ready by Christmas,” Pam Bain said. She and her husband live in a four-level townhouse in the nearby city of Alexandria. “We aren’t getting any younger and need something that’s easier for us to manage.”

The Bains were looking for a retirement home and saw an ad for a new neighborhood. “We went to see the property and chose a lot. We expect ground to be broken soon,” Bain said.

“There’s not much new construction in Alexandria because most of the land has been previously developed,” said Robert Fine, community sales manager for the Christopher Cos., the builder and developer. Christopher Cos., a local, family-owned company in business for 44 years, builds homes in Northern Virginia, Charlottesville and the Delaware beach area.

The lot size — one-quarter to one-third acre — appealed to Bain and her husband. “One of the community’s advantages is that the houses aren’t close together,” she said. Many back up to a green wall, wooded land owned by Fairfax County Park Authority.

Buying New | Reserve at May Hill in Alexandria, Va.

The Reserve at May Hill, a five-acre development of single-family houses in Fairfax County offers a glimpse behind the scenes of how a new community springs up. (Benjamin C Tankersley)

In-law suite: When the houses are done, dozens of evergreens, deciduous and flowering trees will be planted, the company says. Three floor plans — Grant, Burke and Monroe — offer open-concept living with a minimum of 3,000 square feet. The houses have a basement. The Grant floor plan has an in-law suite with a walk-in closet and full bathroom on the first level.

The front door of the model house opens to a hallway. On the right are the living room and dining room. A double-sided gas fireplace is in the wall shared with the family room beyond.

The family room, breakfast area and kitchen run across the back of the house. The kitchen island has cabinets, a microwave oven and seating space. The sink is under a window. A bathroom and a door to the garage are in one corner. A walk-in pantry is in the opposite corner.

Bain and her husband are adding an adjoining sunroom behind their house. “It will give us a terrific view of our lot and the tree line. It’ll also bring in natural light,” she said.

Four bedrooms are upstairs in the model house. In some floor plans, a large owner’s suite includes a sitting room, a bathroom with a stand-alone tub and built-in shower seat, a separate toilet room, and a linen closet.

One of the smaller bedrooms in the model house has an en suite bathroom. The other two share a hallway bathroom. Bain chose to have a doorway between one of those bedrooms and the hallway bathroom to offer guests more privacy.

Shopping and recreation: Van Dorn Plaza, nearby, has a Safeway supermarket. Kingstowne Towne Center has a Giant Food store, a Kohl’s department store and many shops. Springfield Town Center has more than 100 stores and dining choices.

Fairfax County operates the nearby Greendale Golf Course, an 18-hole course on 148 acres. Loftridge Park, a neighborhood park, has a playground and trails. Lee District Park has 150 acres. The 1,500-acre Huntley Meadows Park is a few miles away in the Hybla Valley area. Fort Hunt Park, managed by the National Park Service, about seven miles away, is farther afield but has views across the Potomac River toward Maryland.

Schools: Rose Hill Elementary, Twain Middle, Edison High.

Transit: The Huntington Metro station, on the Yellow Line, is a short drive. There are 34 bike racks, 12 bike lockers and 32 metered parking spaces. Several bus routes serve the station. The development is about 15 miles from the White House


The Reserve at May Hill

5020 Rose Hill Farm Dr., Alexandria, Va.

(The development, in Fairfax County, has an Alexandria mailing address.)

Twelve single-family houses are planned, ranging from $854,900 to $884,900. Six are sold, and six are for sale.

Builder: Christopher Cos.

Features: The houses have two-levels, plus a basement. All the houses will have a two-car garage. Hardwood floors are standard in the entry foyer, kitchen, breakfast area and powder room, and there’s an oak staircase between the first and second floors. The kitchen has GE stainless-steel appliances, a double oven and a separate microwave, 42-inch maple cabinets, granite counters and recessed lighting. The owner’s bathroom has an oversize shower with a glass door, granite counters, a porcelain sink and brushed-nickel faucets. The houses have a two-zone heating/cooling system, upgraded insulation and are Energy Star certified for energy efficiency.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 4 to 5 / 3 to 5

Square-footage: 3,015 to 4,500

Homeowners association fee: $100 a month

View model: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. By appointment Thursday and Friday.