NEWARK, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. was joined by Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday, Jan. 22, as he outlined plans to construct a 150,000-square-foot office building at the Essex County Hall of Records Complex in Newark. In addition, DiVincenzo proposed to name the “Essex County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Building.”
“Many of the visitors who come to the Hall or Records to conduct business or search for records have a difficult time navigating our hallways and finding the offices they need,” DiVincenzo said. “When the Superior Court was looking for modern space, we realized this was an opportunity to create a state-of-the-art building where we could consolidate our Constitutional Offices and create an atmosphere that was more user-friendly. Visitors already are taking time out of their busy schedules to come to the Hall of Records; we want to make it as easy as possible to get to the office they need.”
The new edifice will be constructed in the Jurors’ Parking Lot on the south side of the Hall of Records and the front entrance will be on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It will provide space for 11 courtrooms for the Tax Court and modern office space for county’s Constitutional Offices, including the Clerk’s Office, Board of Elections, Superintendent of Elections/Commissioner of Registration, Surrogate’s Office and Board of Taxation. The building will include cafeteria space that will be large enough to accommodate the entire complex and will replace the current cafe on the Hall of Records’ third floor. A pedestrian bridge will connect the new building to the Hall of Records.
Regarding the naming of the building, DiVincenzo said King was the perfect choice.
“Although he never was elected to office, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most dedicated public servants our country has witnessed, giving his life to help others and to promote equality and justice,” DiVincenzo said. “I can think of no better person whose name should be on this building. More than half a century after his death, people continue to be inspired by Dr. King’s message and we hope they get that same feeling of confidence when they enter our King Building.”
“The lessons taught by Dr. King deserve to be repeated. This building will be dedicated to the cause of justice and when someone enters this building to register to vote or cast a ballot, the cause of justice will be carried out. It will remind us all that our government depends on all of us doing our part,” Murphy said.
Comito and Associates from Newark received a professional services contract for $2,289,000 to design the building. A resolution to award a publicly-bid contract to construct the building was on the Freeholders’ agenda for its Jan. 22 meeting. The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. The building is being funded through the county’s capital budget and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021.
Photos Courtesy of Essex County