FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, CHIEF JUDGE KAYE, BOROUGH PRESIDENT MOLINARO, COUNCIL MEMBER MCMAHON, DASNY DIRECTOR WILLIAMS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY DONOVAN AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATOR FEINBLATT BREAK GROUND ON NEW STATEN ISLAND COURTHOUSE
New Courthouse Will Seek Silver Certification from Green Buildings Council
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, Borough President James P. Molinaro, Council Member Michael E. McMahon, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) Executive Director Paul T. Williams Jr., Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt today broke ground on a new courthouse facility for Richmond County. The new 182,720 square foot courthouse will house supreme court, criminal court and jury assembly and replace cramped space in separate buildings with state-of-the art, environmentally friendly facilities in one location. The five-story courthouse building, 660 car parking garage and memorial green will sit on a 4.04 acre lot in the St. George neighborhood. The site is currently a municipal parking lot. The budget for the project is $220 million and is estimated to be completed in 2012.
"Not only is this Staten Island's first new courthouse in more than 75 years, the City is making the biggest capital investment for a building in the borough's history," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As the first courthouse in the City to earn a green certification from the Green Buildings Council, it will also help drive the incredible renaissance that's taking place here in St. George. We're building for the future of this borough - even during these tough times for our economy."
"This is truly an historic occasion, not only because it's a groundbreaking for a brand new courthouse for the brand new 13th Judicial District of the State of New York, but also because this is the first new courthouse in Richmond County in more than 75 years," said Chief Judge Kaye. "What a milestone for Staten Island and for all of us!"
"My office has been attempting to build additional courthouses in this area since Guy V. Molinari became Borough President in 1990," said Borough President Molinaro. "Our appeals continuously fell on deaf ears. It took Mayor Michael Bloomberg to once again understand the plight of Staten Island's people and bring it to fruition."
"We are proud to partner with Mayor Bloomberg and Chief Judge Kaye on a sweeping program to extensively modernize existing court facilities and build a new generation of courthouses across New York City," said DASNY Executive Director Williams. "The project that we ceremonially kick off today is much more than the stone, steel and glass called for in the architect's blueprints. This courthouse is really about delivering high quality government services to the people of Staten Island."
"Today's groundbreaking is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the elected officials, the legal community and the civic community in bringing the Staten Island court facilities into the 21st century," said Council Member McMahon. "And most importantly today represents a day where we move towards serving the people of Staten Island better and giving them a court facility worthy of them. Congratulations to all."
"This is a great day for not only the justice system on Staten Island, but for our entire community which will benefit from a new, world-class court complex that will be a showplace of the St. George neighborhood," said District Attorney Donovan. "I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Chief Judge Kaye and all of the agencies who have labored to bring this long-awaited day to fruition."
"Our courthouses are more than just buildings, for many they are the face of justice," said Criminal Justice Coordinator Feinblatt. "The people who work in the justice system deserve a courthouse that respects the dignity and importance of their work, and soon enough, they will have it."
The new building will house six civil courtrooms and eight criminal courtrooms, replacing courtrooms currently in use at 67 Targee Street, 18 Richmond Terrace, the Homeport and Borough Hall. The new building will be certified silver by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. It will feature three green roofs, solar panels, a storm water detention system and a public open space for passive recreation, and a home for the Staten Island greenmarket. The building was designed by Polshek Partnership Architects LLP.
The five-story parking garage will house 660 parking spaces, 500 spaces available to the public and 160 spaces for court personnel. Seventy-seven additional parking spaces will be made available on a section of the site that is being reserved for possible future development. In order to minimize the impacts of construction on the St. George area and maximize the amount of available parking spaces, the garage will be built first, before the courthouse. Through January 2010, 90 additional public parking spaces will be made available in a vacant lot that was converted into a parking facility, operated by the City Department of Transportation.
In the late 1700s through the mid-1800s, the courthouse site was the home to the New York Marine Hospital, also referred to as the Quarantine Hospital. In 2006, human remains were discovered on the northernmost portion of the site, which was a former burial ground for mostly Irish and German immigrants who passed away at the Hospital. After the remains were discovered, the City convened the Staten Island Courthouse Memorial Green Advisory Committee, comprised of local clergy, the Borough President, Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries on Staten Island, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Community Board 1. The Committee determined that the remains will be re-interred on-site and will participate in the design of the memorial green that will be constructed where the remains were recovered.
Upon the completion of the new courthouse, 18 Richmond Terrace, also know as the Staten Island Supreme Courthouse, will be retrofitted to accommodate the Family Court which will vacate its home at 100 Richmond Terrace.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
David Bookstaver (OCA) (212) 428-2500
Marc Violette (DASNY) (518) 257-3382