Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Beginning of the End for Abandoned Essex County Jail?

Newark, New Jersey: Could this be the beginning of the end for one of Essex County's largest abandoned buildings?

Currently, the former Essex County Jail sits vacant and abandoned at the corner of New and Newark Streets in the University Heights neighborhood of Newark's Central Ward. The building, closed for over 45 years, sits next to the Norfolk Street Station on the Newark Light Rail. The building, part of which is nearly 180 years old is best known becuase the 1992 film 'Malcolm X' was partially filmed inside of it.

One of the reasons why the massive complex has never been demolished is because it is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. However, records from the City of Newark show that this could soon change. According to the minutes from the July 13th meeting of the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission, Rutgers Law School filed a petition to de-register the complex, which is owned by the City of Newark, from both registers, and that no action was required by the commission.

Rutgers Law School did not respond to a request for comment, and no proposals have been heard by city commissions and boards recently regarding future use for the facility. Former Essex County facilities that became abandoned have seen mixed fates, with the former Essex County Isolation Hospital in Belleville becoming a mixed-use development, while the former Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove was demolished to make way for a park and the former United Hospital in Newark was demolished to make way for the Donald Payne School.

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