Federal Building, Newark, NJ
Location: 20 Washington Pl, Newark, NJ 07102
The Veterans Administration Building is located within the James Street Commons Historic District which represents one of the oldest sections of Newark, New Jersey. Originally constructed in 1920 by the Globe Indemnity Insurance Company as its headquarters, in 1946 the U.S. Government purchased it for the Veterans Administration. The building faces Washington Park. Two mansions stood on the site of the Globe Building prior to its construction. Another mansion, the Ballantine House, constructed in 1884, remains standing northwest of the Veterans Administration Building and is now the location of the Newark Museum.
When the Veterans Administration Building was constructed, the first floor was retail space, with a store on each side of the central lobby. These areas have since been converted to office use with an open office plan. The second through sixth floors were originally insurance company offices, but are now used for Veterans Administration office functions. A mezzanine, between the first and second floors, is above the public corridor which runs along the back, or south, side of the first floor. In 1946, the center mezzanine was enclosed as a pharmacy. The first floor lobby and elevator lobby retain their original character and finishes. Otherwise at the interior, little remains of the original interior finishes other than at areas such as the first floor retail spaces and the second through sixth floor elevator lobby floors.
The Globe Building, designed by Frank Goodwillie, is an example of the Second Renaissance Revival style, a style which, at the turn of the century, was made popular by McKim, Mead, and White. It was constructed during the height of popularity of this style which was frequently used by corporations because of its association with solidity and good taste. The building is a landmark within the James Street Commons Historic District because of its location on the park, its size, and its architectural style. The Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee's guide to the district states: "The Veterans Administration Building is much in character in materials, workmanship, and basic style with similar institutional structures on Washington Park, such as the Newark Public Library and the Newark Museum..."
The building was rededicated on June 16, 1999. The Northeast & Caribbean Region had recently completed a $13.5 million restoration and rehabilitation project at the building. In 1998, the Newark Landmark Historic Preservation Commission recognized GSA's efforts on this project with the presentation of the Commission's Donald T. Dust Recognition Award. In approximately 2001, the exterior was restored, which included masonry work as well as roofing replacement.
- Architect: Goodwillie, Frank
- Construction Date: 1920
- GSA Building Number: NJ0056ZZ
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed