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Justice complex moves forward

Outdated administrative building to be replaced by modern facility

A rendering of the Honorable Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex

Construction will now officially start on the new Honorable Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex that will replace the Hudson County Administration Building at 595 Newark Ave.

The new complex is named for former U.S. Congressman Frank Guarini who donated a parcel of land to the project.

“After many years of planning, this once-in-a-generation transformational project is finally breaking ground and underway,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “I am grateful to Congressman Guarini for his lifetime of service to our country and the generous donation that helped make this project possible. While the courthouse will be a catalyst for the revitalization of the neighborhood, the community will begin to see immediate traffic improvement benefits as we complete improvements to the roadway network as the first phase of construction.”

Since the 1980s, studies have determined that the Hudson County Administration Building is inadequate and overburdened, concluding that the building should be replaced, noting that it would be “enormously expensive” to address the building’s security, electrical, and asbestos problems.

“It is said the wheels of justice turn slowly,” said Hudson Vicinage Assignment Judge Peter  Bariso Jr. “Although it was an arduous journey to a new courthouse, The Honorable Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex was well worth the extraordinary efforts in making Hudson Proud!”

“We are very grateful to Congressman Guarini and the government of Hudson County for their generous support and leadership,” said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “The new justice complex now underway will better serve the people of Hudson County and enhance the cause of justice.”

New complex and new jobs

The contractor, Terminal Construction Corporation, is expected to begin work before the end of the year.

The new complex will house 24 courtrooms: two civil, 10 criminal, and 12 family; hearing and mediation rooms; and grand jury and jury assembly spaces.

Courts administration, the Hudson County Prosecutor, Surrogate, and Sheriff will have office space in the building.

Included in the plans is a  75-seat public cafeteria, a self-help law library, a children’s play area, and training spaces for staff.

“We are looking forward to the new Hudson County Justice Complex which will provide much-needed improvements to the facilities for the benefit of the judicial and prosecutorial staff and the community we serve, as well as visitors, litigants, and attorneys,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez. “Our criminal justice system is a central service of our government, and we know how important it is for everyone who walks through the courthouse doors to enter a space with improved access to services and increased safety.”

“The new courthouse will be a quality court facility with state-of-the-art elements that provide more protection and security for the judiciary, employees, and the public,” said Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari. “It will provide a better facility that enables the Sheriff’s Office to ensure the orderly, peaceful, and safe conduct of court business as we serve the citizens of Hudson County.”

According to the county, the contractor is required to enter into a Project Labor Agreement, which will create up to 600 construction jobs.

The county and the Hudson County Improvement Authority, the designated developer, have committed to working with the Hudson County Building Trades to maximize minority apprenticeships, which will have the largest component of small, minority, women, and veteran-owned vendors of any project in county history.

“The Hudson County Improvement Authority is committed to working collaboratively to build a state-of-the-art Justice Complex that meets the needs of Hudson County’s residents, judicial groups, and law enforcement agencies,” said CEO Norman Guerra. “With shovels in the ground, the HCIA will continue to make itself available to our county partners to ensure this project is completed safely and precisely.”

Open space and traffic changes

As part of the project, the landmark William J. Brennan Courthouse will be renovated. Once construction is complete and the administrative building removed, three acres will be used to create the first public park in Journal Square through a partnership with Jersey City.

The project includes reconfiguring the street network in the area to improve traffic flow through the neighborhood.

The Justice Complex will be bounded by Newark Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Route 139, and a new two-way Central Avenue extension between Hoboken Avenue and Newark Avenue.

Oakland Avenue will be widened to accommodate two-way traffic. Cook Street and Hoboken Avenue between Oakland Avenue and Central Avenue will be removed entirely.

“I’d like to thank Congressman Guarini for his dedication to the residents of Hudson County and steadfast commitment to building a new Justice Complex,” said Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri Jr. “This project makes Hudson County glow and will keep our judiciary staff safe in the workplace while equipping them with the necessary tools to better serve the public. Having a Freeholder Board that works with the county executive and his administration benefits everyone, and I could not be more proud to be part of this major milestone. I thank everyone involved for all their hard work to ensure Hudson County residents are receiving the best possible services.”

For more information or to sign up for project updates, go to http://www.hudsoncountycourthouse.com.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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