Devils Arena Entertainment (DAE) will be taking on a $72 million renovation of Jersey City’s historic Loew’s Theatre, with construction expected to begin in 2022 with a tentative opening expected for 2025.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The revitalization intends to transform the century-old theatre into a state-of-the-art 3,300-seat venue to attract both superstar and up-and-coming performing artists, as well as serve as an engine of economic development and hub for the local Journal Square community.
Specifically, the rehabilitation and operation agreement ensures DAE will work closely with Jersey City and Friends of the Loew’s to return the iconic theatre into the world-class centerpiece of arts and entertainment it once was.
The $72 million deal looks to optimize venue performance for the artists and audiences, including:
- Modernization of technology with state-of-the-art visual and acoustic upgrades as well as concessions and ticketing areas;
- Reconceptualization of ingress and egress at the back and front of the house to meet ADA requirements and expand audience capacity;
- Major infrastructure improvements (HVAC, plumbing, code requirements, electrical upgrades); and
- Historic preservation of the stage lighting control board, pop-up microphone, and orchestra and organ lifts.
The majestic Loew’s Jersey will be an integral part of the revival and rehabilitation of the Journal Square area – Jersey City’s historic city center and one of the busiest transportation hubs in the region.
“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,” Mayor Steven 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.”
Once called “The Most Lavish Temple of Entertainment In New Jersey” when it opened in Jersey City more than 90 years ago, the Loew’s Theatre has remained underutilized for decades following various roadblocks.
“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. 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,” added DAE President Hugh Weber.
“As the operator of the nearby Prudential Center, one of the top entertainment destinations in the United States, we know the importance that live performances play in galvanizing communities and stimulating economic activity. 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.”
With the Friends of Loew’s group on board, city officials announced in June that the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency would be accepted requests for proposals for the theatre renovation, along with seeking new management.
“We look forward to actively working with JCRA to create the detailed redevelopment agreement that will harness DAE’s expertise in commercial show management and marketing while also implementing all that last summer’s RFP guaranteed to FOL,” explaind FOL Founder Colin Egan.
“That agreement will continue FOL’s role as the non-profit arm of the Loew’s, so we’ll go on with our volunteer activities that bring direct community participation in the life and preservation of this landmark, maintain and grow our support for local arts and other non-profit groups, and provide affordable programming. Perhaps most importantly of all, we’ll continue to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the Loew’s.”
Furthermore, Ward C, where the Lowe’s theatre is located, council candidate Tom Zuppa said in a statement that he is in full support of the proposed plan.
“Journal Square is the heart of Jersey City and I am excited about today’s news regarding the plans for the Loew’s Theatre, which honors its history and the tireless contributions of the Friends of the Loew’s,” he stated.
“I will continue to offer a fresh voice and forward-thinking leadership for similar projects, and I will see through to the end our vision of a thriving Journal Square that is the soul of the City’s arts and culture community.”