NEWARK, NJ — On May 22, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. participated in a ceremonial steel signing ceremony for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Building that is currently under construction at the Essex County Government Complex in Newark. The steel frame of the 150,000-square-foot building was completed in just four months.
“This is a significant milestone in the construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Building. The steel frame of the building, the backbone of the structure, has been completed in less than four months,” DiVincenzo said. “While we were focused on planning and responding to the coronavirus pandemic, our contractor remained on the job. I commend his professionalism and the hard work of his employees for continuing to work through some very difficult times.”
The new edifice is being 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 tax court and modern office space for Essex 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 MLK 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.
Comito and Associates, from Newark, received a professional services contract for $2,289,000 to design the building. Dobco, from Wayne, was awarded a publicly bid contract for $72,839,500 to construct the building. The Essex County Department of Public Works is monitoring the project to ensure delays are avoided. The building is being funded through the Essex County capital budget. The groundbreaking was held in January and the building is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021.
Essex County was exempt from Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order halting construction work. Construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Building was allowed to continue because it was a government project and had started before the pandemic began.