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A Rochester-based residential apartment investor, builder and operator is investing more than $25 million to build a new townhome complex in Lancaster, greatly expanding its Buffalo-area operations.

The Ashley Companies is planning to construct a 205-unit rental community on a 36-acre parcel off Juniper Boulevard that it just bought for $2.675 million from homebuilder Marrano Marc Equity.

The complex will be called the Townhomes at Pleasant Meadows, linking it with the various Pleasant Meadows subdivisions that Marrano is already building nearby.

“It’ll be a very nice, upscale community,” said Mark D. Stevens, Ashley president and chief operating officer. “Marrano has a very nice community, and this is going to integrate very nicely.”

Plans call for 48 buildings of four or five units each, all with private entrances and all ranging in size from 1,300 to 1,400 square feet. The developer is modeling it after other communities it has created elsewhere. Rental options will include a combination of: one-level ranch units with two bedrooms and a two-car garage, two-story townhome units with two bedrooms and 1½ bathrooms, or two-story townhomes with three bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms.

The complex will also include a community center, swimming pool and walking trails, and rents will start at $1,300 per month.

“We think it’s going to have a nice little impact in the area,” Stevens said. “We think there is some pent-up demand, and it should be received well.”

Ashley, which had the property under contract for six months, has already received all the necessary municipal and other approvals, and Stevens said officials hope to start site work in the winter. Construction would begin in the spring, with the first units expected to be ready in late summer or early fall of 2014, he said.

“It’s a big development,” Stevens said. “We’re doing it all privately. There are no subsidies involved.”

Founded in the mid-1970s as Sibley Real Estate Services, Ashley got its start as a property management company to handle the foreclosed real estate of many financial institutions but expanded its business over time. It became Ashley Management Corp. in 1995 to focus on acquiring multifamily communities for its own investment portfolio.

Today, it owns and manages 10 residential apartment or townhome communities with more than 2,000 units in upstate New York, with nine developments in the Rochester and Finger Lakes areas. It also owns and redeveloped the Powers Building in downtown Rochester, which is now its headquarters.

Pleasant Meadows will be Ashley’s second project in the Buffalo area, after its Dannybrook Apartments at Maple and Transit roads in Amherst.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com