The former prison closed in 2001, but finds new life hosting multi-family living spaces.
Lorton Reformatory was commissioned by Theodore Roosevelt in the early 20th century as a medium-security prison, famously housing women’s suffragist and National Woman’s Party co-founder, Lucy Burns after she was arrested for an unruly protest outside of the White House.
It has been more than a decade since the Lorton Reformatory hosted nonviolent offenders like Burns, and The Alexander Company—an aggregation specializing in historic site rehabilitation—has made new use of the site’s Jeffersonian architecture, green space and proximity to local amenities.
The Alexander Company broke ground on phase one of what would become the Liberty Crest Apartments in December 2015, converting the former prison into 165 multi-family living spaces.
More than 90 percent of the prison’s original structures were conserved and repurposed as part of the redevelopment, but to bring modernity to the space, each apartment is detailed with stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, vaulted ceilings and the potential to choose from a variety of upgrades that may appeal to renter’s personal tastes.
The first phase of construction created 83 townhomes and 24 single-family homes built around a large green space, tot lot, club house, swimming pool and fitness center. These luxuries, coupled with the site’s historic infrastructure, give the apartments a unique rustic vibe with historical integrity.
Liberty Crest’s one- or two-bedroom apartments are available for immediate move-in and start at $1,500 per month, but phase two of the project has yet to break ground.
This December, The Alexander Company will begin converting the former penitentiary space into a 111,000-square-foot commercial and retail space, building 74 new town homes plus six condominiums that were once the prison guards’ quarters.
For those that may still be skeptical about moving into a space that once held lawbreakers, the project’s development manager, Dave Vos, says, “Liberty Crest provides a lifestyle experience that can’t be replicated in traditional new construction apartment homes. Living in a reinvented historic building is a unique experience, and being surrounded by places to play, work, eat and learn only heightens that experience.”
The new community brings together history and contemporary convenience, and Vos says that those interested should not be concerned that their home will look like a prison chamber as each apartment has been rehabilitated to emulate modern design tastes. From exposed brick walls to polished concrete floors and intricate 20th-century windows, these homes definitely don’t lack character.
Open houses are held every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for local house hunters.