Ever wondered what it would be like to be locked up behind bars, but lacked the impetus to commit an actual crime? Well then, consider buying your next condo in a repurposed prison. As incarceration rates around the world decline, developers are seeking to transform these abandoned correctional facilities into residential communities. Renovation costs can be exorbitant — obstacles such as asbestos, lead paint and plumbing re-routing must be dealt with. However, the structures themselves are formidable; they had to be, lest the prisoners would escape. Check out these six former jailhouses that actually rock:
The Old Salem Jail in Salem, Massachusetts has been transformed from a three-building complex into a mixed-use community featuring luxury apartments and a restaurant. The development, known as 50 Saint Peter, features stunning, modern interiors.
Photo: Elizabeth Thomsen/Flickr
The Lorton Prison in Fairfax, Virginia is set to become The Laurel Hill, an 80-acre housing, retail and office facility. The development will feature 225 apartments, 157 townhomes, 6 condos and 24 single family homes. The first phase of development kicks off in October, with the apartments being set for completion in 2016 and the homes by 2020.
Photo: Fairfax County/Flickr
The Old Gaol in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England was built for prisoners, by prisoners. Free labour was apparently plentiful during the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The 199 year old penitentiary on the Thames River is currently being converted into apartments, duplexes and cottages. Part of the development has already been completed, but one, two and three bedroom luxury refurbished apartments are still on the market.
The Rummelsburg Dentention Centre in Berlin, Germany dates back to 1879, and was formerly used as an institution for those whom the Nazis considered to be anti-social. Today, it houses 147 converted apartments, as well as 20 newly built townhomes and 20 newly built apartments.
A former city jail in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is being transformed into 96 affordable housing units. The project was a collaboration between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver, non-profits and consulting and architectural firms. The building’s interior will be completely refurbished — the plans include bright, open residential units, a multi-purpose room, community garden, communal lounge and a bicycle storage facility.
The Castle, in Marion, Indiana was formerly the Grant County Jail, which was in use until 1981. The facility is now home to eleven, two bedroom suites, twelve, one bedroom suites and a studio. Furnished and unfurnished units are currently available, and unlike many former jails, The Castle is centrally located in relation to Marion’s downtown core.