A former prison in Northern Virginia now has newfound liberty.

What was once the Lorton prison complex, which housed D.C. inmates in a reformatory setting until it closed in 2001, is being redeveloped as a new mixed-use community called Liberty at Laurel Hill.

The community, at the intersection of Silverbrook Road and White Spruce Way in Lorton, celebrated the opening of its first phase in May. When complete, it will feature 165 apartments, 157 townhouses, 24 single-family homes and more than 110,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and offices, Fairfax County officials said in a news release.

Developers and county officials are hopeful that the new community will bring new life to an area that has been virtually empty for years.

“Liberty promises to be a community hub where neighbors can walk over to meet up for coffee or dinner,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said in a statement at the time. “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 apartments, which began leasing in May, were built in historically-preserved, renovated, reformatory dorms. About half of the apartments have been leased so far, said David Vos, development project manager for The Alexander Company, one of two private companies that partnered with Fairfax County for the project.

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This article was originally published in the Fauquier Times by Amanda Heincer.