Loew’s Jersey Theatre getting $72 million renovation
Jersey City's grand old movie palace and performance space, Loew's Jersey Theatre, will undergo a major restoration, NJ.com reports. Prudential Center operator Devils Arena Entertainment (DAE), in partnership with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, will invest $72 million into the theater, for technology modernization, visual and acoustic upgrades, infrastructure improvements, and preservation of certain historic elements. Friends of the Loew's, the non-profit that had been leasing and operating the theater, will remain in place as its non-profit arm.
"The Loew’s restoration is decades in the making, and so I am encouraged and excited to partner with Devils Arena Entertainment, a reputable entertainment company and operator of the globally successful Prudential Center, as we take this monumental step forward in our commitment to restoring Loew’s Theatre to its former glory, reviving Journal Square, and growing our arts community," Fulop said in a statement. "This one-of-a-kind partnership signifies our long-term planning for a post-pandemic future where we’re confident arts and culture will be a staple of life."
"The Loew’s Jersey Theatre is an iconic community treasure that has played a long, distinguished role as Jersey City’s premier arts and entertainment venue," DAE president Hugh Weber said. "The opportunity to partner with Mayor Fulop, the Friends of the Loew’s, and the local Journal Square community to revitalize this historic venue is a privilege for us. We envision Loew’s Jersey Theatre as a catalyst to help the citizens of Northern Jersey get back, literally, on their feet to celebrate world-class arts and music."
Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2022, with the venue expected to reopen in 2025.
Loew's, which first opened in 1929, was set to undergo renovations previously, in 2014, when Live Nation and AEG were among those vying for a contract to operate it. AEG got the contract, but never took over the space, Jersey Digs reports. More from them:
In February 2014, after informing FOL they were not entitled to their lease anymore, the Fulop administration announced that AEG Live would manage the Loew’s, and spend up to $40 million to overhaul the theater. The city had also received bids from LiveNation and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. But in May 2015, a judge ruled that the FOL’s lease was indeed valid and that the city cannot break it, putting a halt on Fulop’s plans, a plan that if executed successfully, would be a highlight of his Mayoral legacy.
In August 2015, Mayor Fulop asked Hudson County to take away a $300,000 grant FOL had won, arguing the repair work it was intended for, was insignificant. When FOL then sued the county for that, a judge ruled that the grant be restored to the Loew’s, and that is where we are currently. Press Secretary Jennifer Morrill declined comment during the city’s court procedures except to say: “We are hopeful that the Loew’s returns to being a theatre that showcases world-class talent on a consistent basis.”