THE BRONX - The Bronx County Hall of Justice opened for business Monday, three years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.
The nine-story, energy-efficient courthouse is located at 265 E. 161st St. near the Grand Concourse. It's one of the largest courthouses in the nation. The building façade is translucent, allowing sunlight to pour into each of the 47 courtrooms.
Despite the opening, the facility still has a couple of issues. According to Ronald Younkins, of the New York State Office of Court Administration, jury deliberation rooms are too small and the parking garage is structurally unsound.
"The garage is a separate structure," Younkins said. "The garage is underneath the plaza, which is behind the courthouse." He stressed that the public plaza will not open until the parking garage issues are resolved.
The new courthouse is expected to alleviate overcrowding at the Bronx Family-Criminal Courthouse, just blocks away. The move from the old building to the new structure will be done in two phases. The second phase includes opening the 200-car underground garage.
The entire project has suffered delays due to contaminated soil, structural issues and problems with contractors, according to officials.
Ground was broken on the courthouse in 2001. It was expected to open in 2005.