Groundbreaking held at Workhouse Campus in Lorton


Fairfax County officials and other dignitaries participate in the symbolic groundbreaking at the Workhouse Campus in Lorton on June 24, 2022.

Officials from Fairfax County held a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the renovation and restoration of two historic buildings located on the Workhouse Campus in Lorton.

Proclaiming that “Lorton is alive,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck joined other county leaders and Workhouse Arts Center President and CEO Leon Scioscia in thanking the many stakeholders involved in making and growing the Lorton community, as well as envisioning its future. That future includes the opening of more food and beverage establishments in the area, including on the Workhouse Campus.

Workhouse Arts Center President & CEO Leon Scioscia addresses the crowd at the June 24 groundbreaking for buildings W-13 and W-15 at the Workhouse Campus in Lorton.

Preliminary construction in Workhouse buildings W-13 and W-15, which are adjacent to Ox Road, began earlier this year with the removal of hazardous materials and the initiation of interior demolition activities and structural improvements, according to the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services. Over coming months, the interior of both approximately 4,500-square-foot buildings will be renovated to an open floor plan and outfitted with lighting and electrical outlets, fire alarm and sprinkler systems, baseboard heating units, and mechanical and plumbing connections and infrastructure.

The buildings’ exteriors will be restored for historical preservation — complemented by streetscape, landscaping and courtyard enhancements.

Rendering of external enhancements between buildings W-15 (left) and W-13 (right) (Credit: Workhouse Arts Center)

Ultimately, the buildings, which are expected to be ready for tenant fit-out work in early 2023, will house food and beverage tenants such as restaurants or breweries. The county recently extended its Request for Expressions of Interest for the use and occupancy of W-13 and W-15 for a second time since its initial issue in April 2021. JLL, a commercial real estate firm, is helping the county promote food and beverage rentals, as well as following up on leads.

Fairfax County is coming up on its 20th anniversary of purchasing the land now housing the Workhouse Campus from the federal government following the closure of the Lorton prison complex in 2001. On July 15, 2002, the county received the title to 2,324 acres of land after paying $4.2 million and providing a reuse plan that would preserve the historically significant buildings and structures.

View of The Quad and Rizer Pavilion at the Workhouse Arts Center

“The Lorton Prison land transfer was one of the greatest opportunities and land acquisitions in Fairfax County,” said Storck. “Twenty years later, we have the Workhouse Arts Center, where we continue to break new ground and activate the campus; three new schools; multiple new communities, including the mixed use former prison site now called Liberty, where we will be welcoming Lidl, Taco Rock and other businesses this year; a new police station and animal shelter; an 18-hole championship golf course; vast swaths of parkland and bike trails, and so much more still to come.”

Workhouse buildings W-13 and W-15 are located at 9514 and 9517 Workhouse Way.

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