Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise today announced the start of construction of the Honorable Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex, which will replace the outdated Hudson County Administration Building at 595 Newark Avenue.
“After many years of planning, this once-in-a-generation transformational project is finally breaking ground and underway,” said Hudson County Executive Thomas A. 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.”
The new courthouse is named after former U.S. Congressman Frank Guarini, who donated a parcel of land for the project and who was recently presented with a framed rendering of the courthouse complex as a token of appreciation.
“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.”
Since the 1980s, numerous studies have determined that the Hudson County Administration Building is inadequate and overburdened, all concluding that the building should be replaced and that it would be “enormously expensive” to address the security, electrical, and asbestos problems.
“It is said the Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly,” said Hudson Vicinage Assignment Judge Peter F. 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!”
The contractor, Terminal Construction Corporation, is required to enter into a Project Labor Agreement for the project, which will create up to 600 well-paying construction jobs. The County and HCIA are committed to working with the Hudson County Building Trades to maximize minority apprenticeships for the project, which will also 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.”
The contractor has begun to mobilize and is expected to begin work before the end of the year. The new complex will house 24 courtrooms (2 civil, 10 criminal, and 12 family), hearing and mediation rooms, grand jury, and jury assembly spaces. Courts administration, the Hudson County Prosecutor, Surrogate, and Sheriff will also have office space in the building. Amenities will include a 75-seat public cafeteria, a self-help law library, a children’s play area, and training spaces for staff. The Hudson County Improvement Authority has been designated as the developer of the project.
“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 landmark William J. Brennan Courthouse will remain and will be renovated. After construction of the new courthouse is complete, the removal of the Hudson County Administration Building, through a partnership with Jersey City, will open a 3-acre area for the creation of the first public park in Journal Square.
“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 X. 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.”
“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 P. 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.
The first phase of construction which is nearly complete includes reconfiguring the street network, which will improve traffic flow through the neighborhood. The Justice Complex will be bounded by Newark Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Rt 139, and a new 2-way Central Avenue extension that is being constructed between Hoboken Avenue and Newark Avenue. In addition, Oakland Avenue is being widened to accommodate two-way traffic. Cook Street and Hoboken Avenue between Oakland Avenue and Central Avenue will be removed.
Additional project information, including renderings, a video, FAQ, signup form for project updates, and more, can be found at the project website, www.hudsoncountycourthouse.com.