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Workshop renovations clearing the way for a restaurant, cafe, brasserie

A cafe or restaurant at the Workhouse Arts Center?

Lorton Craft Destination says construction work to add these amenities has begun with two campus buildings, W13 and W15. Once completed, the Fairfax County government will lease these buildings to commercial entities. Workhouse officials also say a brewery could be located in one of the new buildings.

Over the years, the Workhouse has become a community center for residents of South Fairfax and Eastern Prince William Counties. In addition to visual and performing arts, the Workhouse will host the final weekend of its Haunt: Nightmare Harvest Halloween run this weekend, Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, from 7-11 p.m.

The Workhouse Arts Foundation, Inc. is working with Fairfax County on a master campus planning process to ensure the original vision for the entire arts center is still viable. This initial plan was considered in addition to the currently occupied visual art and interpretive components. This artistic complex would include a amphitheaterprofessional theatre, events and education center.

The Workhouse sits on land that once housed a prison run by Washington, D.C. In 2004, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors rezoned the campus, allowing the Lorton Arts Foundation to reuse the area through adaptive reuse of structures existing historic buildings and the construction of new buildings with a combination of uses, including theatres, artists’ studios, an events centre, museums, a music barn, other similar facilities, restaurants, commercial recreation and housing for resident artists/performers to establish the campus as a unique arts, cultural and recreational resource for the community.

Eleven historic buildings located on the Workhouse Arts Campus have been restored. The campus was originally intended to include: artist studios, a prison museum and community heritage center, an art gallery, and an event center for weddings, receptions, and conferences.

With up to 600 seats, a 300-seat performing arts center consisting of a black box or flexible space that can also be used for an event center uses a 450-seat theater, music hall 300 indoor seating and up to 500 outdoor lawn seating, an outdoor horticultural display area with a 2,424 square foot indoor exhibit/greenhouse area, and adaptive reuse of other historic structures to support the arts center, such as offices and warehouses.

Also located on campus is an 82,500 square foot green space known as the Quad and nearly 1,000 parking spaces. The Workhouse Arts Center is located at 9518 Workhouse Way in Lorton.

John Smith

The author John Smith