AEG wins bidding process to manage Jersey City theatre

Overhaul of famed venue aimed at drawing more visitors to Journal Square

From left: Loew's Jersey Theatre lobby and main stage
From left: Loew's Jersey Theatre lobby and main stage

Entertainment company and venue operator AEG will manage the Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City after winning a bidding process to take over the former movie house. City officials and AEG are betting that an overhaul of the storied venue, built in 1929, will attract more visitors to the city’s Journal Square area.

The Jersey City Redevelopment Agency must still approve the deal, which city officials announced Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported. If the arrangement moves forward, the city will spend $30 to $40 million in municipal taxpayer-funded improvements during a renovation process that is expected to be completed in late 2015 or early 2016. The city said private donations and tax credits will contribute to the funding, according to the Journal.

AEG will also make “some improvements” and pay $350,000 for each year of a 30-year lease, the Journal reported. The agreement stipulates that AEG must book national acts and dedicate some programming to local events.

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City incentives have helped to draw developers to the Journal Square area recently. Plans for One Journal Square, a two-tower development that stalled during the financial downturn, recently began moving forward, and the first phase of Kushner Real Estate Group’s trio of high rise residences, Journal Squared, is now underway.

LiveNation and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center also bid for the Loew’s project. [WSJ]Tom DiChristopher