Liberty Opens its Doors for New Residents at Former Lorton Prison

Liberty development

Probably for the first time ever, the former Lorton prison has become a place to live by choice.

People have already moved into 11 of the 165 apartments in the historically preserved prison dorms. On Thursday, these new residents joined Fairfax County officials, developers and others to celebrate the near completion of these apartments in the coming weeks.

Now called Liberty, the old prison complex is being redeveloped into a vibrant urban village with apartments, 157 townhouses, 24 single-family homes, and more than 110,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and offices. The county entered into a public-private partnership to redevelop the old prison complex that we continue to own.

“Liberty promises to be a community hub where neighbors can walk over to meet up for coffee or dinner,” said Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck . “Perhaps, watch beer being distilled at the local brewery. Read books on the central lawn. Pick up groceries on the way home or stroll over with their toddlers for playtime.”


The New Apartments: An Inside Look

The one and two bedroom apartments feature:

  • Polished concrete floors
  • Exposed brick
  • Granite countertops
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Lots of natural light from the original windows that have been preserved

Some units also offer private patios. The amenities include a fitness center with views of the quad and a community room located in the reformatory’s former dining hall. This club room will provide a place to host parties or gather. What was once the prison’s shower facility is now a swimming pool with 25-yard lanes, water features and an expansive deck.


Public-Private Partnerships Get the Job Done

The federal government sold the more than 2,300-acre reformatory site to the county in 2002. The redevelopment of the 80-acre complex of prison buildings represents the final puzzle piece in the redevelopment of Laurel Hill.

“It was offered to Fairfax County for I think it was $4 million,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova . “What a deal. And it was deal, although I don’t think any of us realized how much more was going to be required in money, labor and working with the community to make sure we were doing right by this beautiful property.”

At an estimated $188 million, the project is partnership between us and two developers The Alexander Company and Elm Street Development — with our contribution capped at $12.8 million toward the share of public infrastructure design and construction.

Bulova said that partnerships like this is one of the ways the county can accomplish its goals.

“Liberty is the latest realization of the county’s vision to create mixed use communities where residents can live, work and play,” said Bulova. “A once underutilized site with a checked past has now been reimagined and redeveloped.”


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