Hudson County is ready to begin the first phase of roughly $310 million worth of construction for a new county courthouse after Terminal Construction Corporation was selected as the contractor, officials said.
“We are very grateful to Congressman Guarini and the government of Hudson County for their generous support and leadership,” New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said in a joint statement.
“The new justice complex now underway will better serve the people of Hudson County and enhance the cause of justice.”
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.
While it appeared that the project would be well under way by the end of 2020, it was held up at the tail end of the summer when all the contractor bids were rejected by the Hudson County Improvement Authority for far exceeding $300 million.
The contractor ultimately selected by the HCIA (the project developer) is Terminal Construction Corporation, who is required to enter into a Project Labor Agreement for the project, which will create up to 600 construction jobs.
The county government and HCIA have both said they 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.
“After many years of planning, this once-in-a-generation transformational project is finally breaking ground and underway,” noted 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.”
Additionally, the new complex will house 24 courtrooms (two civil, 10 criminal, and 12 family), hearing and mediation rooms, grand jury, and jury assembly spaces.
The 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.
“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.
“It is said the Wheels of Justice Turn Slowly. 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!,” added Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso.
The landmark William J. Brennan Courthouse will remain and will be renovated.
Furthermore, 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 three-acre area for the creation of the first public park in Journal Square.
“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,” expressed Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8).
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, Route 139, and a new, two-way Central Avenue extension that is being constructed between Hoboken Avenue and Newark Avenue.
Also, Oakland Avenue is being widened to accommodate two-way traffic, while Cook Street and Hoboken Avenue, between Oakland Avenue and Central Avenue, will be removed.