Development of the former Lorton Prison is entering its final stage this fall with the recent launching of Phase II of the project which is now called “Liberty.”

Phease II will add more apartments and townhouses as well as commercial spaces and infrastructure lements to the Lorton community.

In Phase II, there will be 74 more townhouses that will be built as they are sold, 12 apartments and other retail spaces. Elm Street Development and The Alexander Company are contracted to do the work.

“We’re looking to bring in more retail and commercial components,” said Brian Barnes, the Elm Street Development project manager. Ideally, they are looking to bring in a grocery store, restaurant and possible brewery, making it a “walkable community,” Barnes said. The buildings will be gutted and the spaces opened for the new tenants within a year or so, said Barnes.

The buildings redeveloped in the first phase were part of the minimum-security portion of the prison, but the second phase will be in the maximum-security buildings. The existing apartments are at capacity, and people seem to like the location and uniqueness. The original concrete floors and bars are still in places around Phase I, and “it’s unique, not your cookie cutter apartment,” said the maintenance man. Even the leasing office is in a space that is a former prison cell.

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This article was originally published by Mike Salmon in the Connection Newspapers.