A half-hour northeast of the District in Laurel, Md., the air is a little sweeter, the ambiance less urban, and a river is close by.

A 444-townhouse development under construction in Laurel is named Watershed in a nod to its proximity to the Upper Patuxent Watershed and the Patuxent River’s natural resources.

“That was the driving force for our vision of the community,” said Jim Krapf, vice president of Elm Street Communities, developer of Watershed. “We wanted connections to nature to be foremost in the minds of prospective buyers and residents.”

Krapf said nearby wildlife refuge and conservation areas are the Watershed community’s “biggest assets.” Even the street names — Cormorant Drive, Spikemoss Lane, Warbler Road and Heron Glen Way — are nature-oriented.

“Outdoor experiences and activities are a focus of living there,” he said.

Buying New | Watershed in Laurel, Md.

Watershed is a 444-townhouse development under construction in Laurel, Md. The name is a nod to its proximity to the Upper Patuxent Watershed and the river’s natural resources. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

The emphasis on outdoor activities is also reflected in Watershed’s planned amenities: a bike repair station, a communal garden, a pool and an outdoor terrace with grills and a fire pit. Other amenities are to include a community clubhouse, the Refuge, with a lounge, a fitness center, a yoga terrace, a playroom for children and space to set up a temporary co-work office.

Watershed is in Anne Arundel County, one of four Maryland counties that have communities identified as being in Laurel. (The incorporated city of Laurel is entirely in Prince George’s.)

Watershed townhouses are offered in four styles, all 40 feet from end to end but with different widths: Attwood, 16 feet; Eagleton, 20; Greywood, 22; and Isleton, 24. The standard floor plans are for three-story townhouses, but a fourth level with a roof terrace is optional with Greywood and Attwood units.

The first phase of Watershed construction — 99 townhouses — is underway now. The builder, PulteGroup, says about half of them have been sold, and move-ins are expected to begin in July. How fast the townhouses go up depends on the sales rate. “If the current pace continues, we can anticipate being finished with Phase 1 in the next three to four months,” said Stephanie McGaw, PulteGroup sales consultant.

Keeping tabs: Phyo Kyaw was three days from his marriage to Erica Smith — via a Zoom gathering online with family and friends May 24 — when he talked to a reporter about their Attwood townhouse.

It’s taking shape now. “We live 10 to 15 minutes away,” Kyaw said, “so we go there and take a look whenever we have the chance. The roof recently went up, and the main structure outside is finished. Inside, plumbing will be next.” The couple plans to set up a guest room on the lower level and put their exercise bike there. “We don’t want to carry it upstairs,” he said with a laugh.

Kori Montague and her 9-year-old twin girls, Morgan and Logan, are busy getting ready to go. “Oh my goodness,” Montague said. “I spent the beginning of spring purging and taking inventory. Now we’re packing, packing, packing. The best advice I could ever give anyone who’s going to move is, do it over a long time so you aren’t frazzled at the last minute.”

Laurel has been Montague’s home since she graduated from college. She wanted to stay in the area and keep the girls in the same school. “When I found out about this new community and that it was by Pulte I went to see it,” she said. Now they do ride-bys to check on the progress.

Optional fourth floor: The Greywood furnished model home has the optional fourth floor, configured as a loft with a powder room, a wet bar and sliding glass doors that open to the roof terrace.

The front door to the townhouse, on the first floor, opens into a game room (which could be converted to a bedroom) opposite the two-car garage. A few steps lead up to the second floor and the open-plan main living area.

“It’s completely open-concept. Window-to-window, front to rear, with no obstruction of walls,” said McGaw, the sales consultant.

The kitchen is in the center. The “gathering room,” with an adjoining deck, is on one side of the kitchen, and a dining area is on the other.

“From the gathering room, we built a small hallway that takes you around to the back corner powder room. People like it tucked away,” McGaw said.

Three bedrooms occupy the third floor. The owner’s bedroom suite, with a bathroom and walk-in closet, is on one end of the floor. A hallway, stairs and a bathroom take up the middle of the floor, and two side-by-side bedrooms are on the other end.

Nearby: The 12,800-acre Patuxent Research Refuge, in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, is a short drive away, and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center is on the refuge’s grounds. The 365-acre Patuxent River Watershed Conservation Park is not far away in Montgomery County. Shopping options abound at the Arundel Mills mall, Laurel Shopping Center, Town Centre at Laurel and Waugh Chapel Town Centre. Target, Kohl’s, Giant Food, Harris Teeter and Sam’s Club are among the area’s major retailers.

Schools: Maryland City Elementary, Meade Middle, Meade Senior High.

Transit: New Carrollton, on the Orange Line, is the closest Metro station. Two MARC commuter rail stations — Odenton and Laurel — and Amtrak’s BWI Airport station are close. Interstate 95 is slightly west of the community. Annapolis is about 20 miles southeast and Baltimore about 20 miles north.


3434 Heron Glen Way, Laurel, Md.

The development plan calls for 444 townhouses when the community is complete. Of the 99 townhouses in the first phase, about half are for sale now at base prices ranging from $349,990 to $444,990.

Builder: PulteGroup

Features: Townhouses have at least three levels — with an optional fourth-floor and a roof terrace available with two models — and they have a one- or two-car garage. Units come with a Honeywell programmable thermostat and a 50-gallon electric water heater. Kitchens have Mid South recessed-panel birch cabinets, granite counters, Amana stainless-steel appliances, Shaw luxury vinyl plank floors and LED lights.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 5 / 3 or 4

Square footage: 1,577 to 2,354

HOA fees: $100 a month

View models: By appointment.

Contact: Stephanie McGaw or Patrick Mulvihill at 301-531-5852 or pulte.com/watershed.