The long journey to replace an outdated court building in Jersey City is finally taking a noticeable step forward as demolition work has begun on several Newark Avenue lots and a bit of the city’s past has been uncovered.
Earlier this year in February, the Hudson County Freeholders awarded a $4.45 million bid to clear multiple parcels that are across the street from the Hudson County Administration Building at 595 Newark Avenue. That work has now begun, and the demolition revealed a little-known “ghost sign” on what was the last remaining building at 606 Newark Avenue.
The modest building, which had been used as an MRI office in recent years, was once home to T.C. Kinkead Wholesale Grocer. Constructed in the late 1800s, the market opened in 1897 according to a publication called Butcher’s Advocate. The uncovered ghost sign advertises the business as featuring a butcher plus a wine and tea dealer.
It’s a little too late though for those wanting to catch a glimpse of old Jersey City; the property was torn down last week to eventually make way for a new legal facility. Now that 606 Newark Avenue is history, a new courthouse project will be drawn up by New York City-based Rafael Viñoly Architects. They will develop a master plan for construction of a new Hudson County Courthouse that will contain mostly courtrooms, replacing ones currently occupying space in the Administration Building.
As part of this project, the county will also eliminate nearby Cook Street and realign several local roads to allow Central Avenue to connect with Newark Avenue. Currently, Central Avenue stops near the Route 139 overpass and then has a small, standalone stretch that dead-ends at Pavonia Avenue. The master planning for the entire project should be completed sometime in the middle of next year.
The eventual cost for the new courthouse could be as much as $345 million, a price tag that county officials hope to offset when they sell the current Administration Building property to a developer once it’s no longer needed. Fans of historic architecture need not fret; the Brennan Courthouse, which underwent a recent stair renovation, is staying put and will continue to be used for court business as well.