We’re betting no one’s ever said that to you before! Stranger than fiction, the historical Lorton, Virginia, Prison, otherwise known as the Lorton Workhouse and Reformatory, has been renovated into luxury prison apartments available to rent today.
A Little History
First commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910, the Lorton Workhouse was a place where inmates in D.C. could be rehabilitated by learning new trade skills — an unheard of experiment. Roosevelt believed a prisoner’s rehabilitation could be improved with fresh air, natural light, and a place to live and work.
Like the Workhouse, the Lorton Reformatory was designed as a campus and built, brick by brick, by the prisoners themselves using bricks fired in on-site kilns and lumber cut from trees on the property. The dorm-style buildings are laid out in a way that provide lots of natural light and open green-space, unlike most cellblocks.
Lorton continued to concentrate on prison industry up until the mid-1940s. Inmates made many contributions to World War II efforts — from donating blood to making uniforms. Lorton even housed a National Nike (named after the Greek goddess of victory) missile site — a U.S. air defense system designed to protect against a Soviet nuclear attack.
From Rags to Riches
The prison shut its doors in 2001, due to overcrowding, and transferred its prisoners to other facilities. It’d been empty ever since, until Fairfax County, together with developers, The Alexander Company, Inc. and Elm Street Development, came up with a master plan in 2009. Now, with funding from housing credits and federal and state historic credits, part of this $190 million, multi-phase project has produced 165 multi-family units called Liberty Crest Apartments.
Each prison apartment home (ranging from $900 to $2,150 per month) features a unique floor plan with restored historical elements and luxury, condo-grade finishes. Granite counter tops pair with custom maple cabinetry and stainless steel, energy-efficient appliances. The original windows have been painstakingly restored, as have the exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors. Some amenities include:
- Community room in the former dining hall
- Swimming pool
- Fitness center overlooking the quadrangle
- Tot lots for kids
- Quiet park spaces for adults( 3+ acres of green space)
- Cross country trail for walking, biking, or running
But Wait, There’s More
Construction has just finished on 83 town homes, and up next are 24 single-family homes, civic, and community spaces, and retail and commercial space (Liberty Market). According to the Liberty Crest web site:
“Liberty Market will feature a unique collage of small shops in a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere with sophisticated retail and dining options. Well-curated, authentic, and respectful to the historical character of the property, this new retail destination will boast the fresh retail conveniences and dining options that the rapidly growing neighborhood deserves.”
If you’re looking for some new digs, then what are you waiting for? You could be a prisoner in your own home at Liberty Crest prison apartments — go check them out today!
Would you live in these prison apartments? Let us know yea or nay in the comments below!