The New Brunswick government has abandoned plans to build a new Saint John courthouse as a public-private partnership.

In January, the province asked for private-sector proposals to build, operate and maintain the 13,536-square-metre building for 30 years.

But on Friday, the government announced it has decided it will be less expensive to build the courthouse through a traditional public-sector process.

"Our evaluation process has led us to conclude that the most cost-effective and efficient way of doing so is through a publicly funded project," Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty said in a release.

Tenders will be issued in coming weeks, with construction slated to begin early next year and be completed by the spring or summer of 2012. The estimated cost of the project is $53 million.

The new facility is to be built on the former YMCA property on Hazen Avenue in the city's uptown.

It's expected to have 13 courtrooms, along with offices for judges, Crown prosecutors, sheriffs and other staff and be connected underground to a new police headquarters.

The government still believes public-private partnerships can work, just not in this case, said Doherty.

"We have had had numerous positive experiences with public-private partnerships in New Brunswick, including the Moncton courthouse, which is under construction, Leo Hayes High School, the New Brunswick Youth Centre and new schools in Moncton North and Rexton," he said.

"How we proceed with infrastructure projects is determined on a case-by-case basis and focused on what approach will maximize benefits for the users of that infrastructure and the taxpayers of New Brunswick."