Developers building apartment towers in Journal Square are betting that millennials will move to Jersey City as an alternative to Manhattan or Brooklyn.
Now they have a new pitch beyond cheaper rent and cushy amenities.
The historic Loew’s Theatre will get a major renovation to attract high-profile entertainers, officials said Monday. Jersey City and the Devils Arena Entertainment, the operator of the Prudential Center, reached a $72 million deal to turn the century-old theater into a 3,300-seat venue.
The theater was referred to as “the most lavish temple of entertainment in New Jersey” when it opened in the first part of the 20th century. The Baroque/Rococo style venue attracted such performers as Duke Ellington and Bing Crosby.
But the theater started falling apart and it closed in 1986. The site was pegged for demolition, but was ultimately saved by community activists. The city purchased the site in 1993 for $325,000, according to the New York Times.
The nonprofit Friends of the Loew’s ended up running the venue and hosting performances. In 2013, the city looked to bring in a new operator, which resulted in lawsuits between the city and the Friends group.
Last summer the city announced that once again it was looking for a new commercial operator for the project.
Under the new plans, the city and Devils Arena Entertainment will modernize the technology at the theater and provide visual and acoustic upgrades. They will also make major infrastructure improvements and preserve the historic stage lighting control board, pop-up microphone, and orchestra and organ lifts, and remake the ingress and egress at the back and front of the building.
“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,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
Construction is expected to begin in 2022. The venue is supposed to open in 2025.
Journal Square is perhaps best known for being the headquarters of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, better known as the PATH. The neighborhood, which sits near the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and Bergen Avenue, also served as the home to the Jersey Journal.
The Kushner Companies, led by its founder Charles Kushner, plans to build two massive, 64-story, mixed-use towers in Journal Square. Nearby, New York-based HAP Investments will build a 42-story apartment building nearby at 500 Summit Avenue.