Former Fairfax County Prison Will Get $188 Million Makeover

Earlier this week, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors introduced a $188 million project to turn the Lorton prison grounds into homes for both families and businesses.

Townhouses, apartments, single-family homes, retail shops and professional offices will utilize the renovated prison site in hopes of breathing new life and reinstating historic value to the area.

The renovated land, dubbed “Laurel Hill,” is primarily funded through private supporters. However, federal and state tax credits are also a large contribution to the project.

A major part of the Laurel Hill financing comes from the recent buyout of a notorious local art gallery, the Workhouse Arts Center, to avoid a humiliating foreclosure.

Contributing to the Workhouse Arts Center’s future location, near Laurel Hill, the county will assume $30 million of the center’s debt, and will pay $12.7 million for infrastructure improvements.

District supervisor, Gerald W. Hyland (D-Mount Vernon), is eager for the prison renovations. “Finally the jewel on top of the crown is what we have pending before us,” he said.

The project is estimated to generate approximately 300 jobs and rake in about $2.5 million in annual taxes, county spokesman Brian Worthy said.

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