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LEXINGTON PARK, MD-Development is expected to begin within months for a 175,000-sf retail project here. The developers, Rockville, MD-based Congressional Realty Group, recently received preliminary site plan approval for the project, called Lexington Village, from St. Mary’s County. Now, it is set to close on its anchor tenant, according to Crae Ramsey, senior director, Investments in Wrightwood Capital’s Washington DC office.

In the Spring, Wrightwood Capital provided slightly more than $26 million to CRG, structured in a 36 month loan, to finance the acquisition and development of the 23-acre project–a sum that represents 96% of the total development costs, Ramsey tells GlobeSt.com. “It was a complex project, as there were two owners of the separate parcels,” he says.

Located on SR 235, the major thoroughfare in the county, the project will be located one mile from the main gate of Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The station has been attracting aerospace and government contractors to the area and a number of retail operations have sprung up nearby in response. As a result, Ramsey says, the site’s current use as a manufactured home park is no longer optimal for that stretch of land.

Since the financing’s close, the project has gained momentum and the developer is setting a Spring ’08 date to break ground. This year, site preparation work will begin including tear down of some of the manufactured homes. Others will be relocated, Ramsey says. CRG initially intends to develop 16 acres as Phase One and the remaining seven acres as Phase Two.

“Although the final site plan hasn’t been approved and these things are always subject to change, Lexington Village will probably end up with a mix of restaurants, pharmacies and other such retail outlets,” Ramsey says. This is the second transaction Wrightwood has funded for CRG. Chris Carroll of Cohen Financial sourced the deal.

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