Friends of the Loew’s, the non-profit group that runs the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, had a judge uphold their lease of the historic building earlier today: prompting the group to exclaim now is the time to work together with the city of Jersey City.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“FOL is obviously gratified by this ruling, and we are happy that it removes the cloud of doubt that’s been hanging over the Theatre,” the group said in a statement.
“But as far as we are concerned, the issue and any bad feelings it has caused are behind us. Now is the time to sit down with Mayor Stephen M. Fulop [sic] and the City to plan how to truly take the ongoing restoration and operation of the Landmark Loew’s to the next level.
The city of Jersey City was suing Friends of the Loew’s in hopes of breaking the groups lease on the theatre, which runs through February 2020.
However, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Hector Velasquez ruled that the lease was still valid, putting a halt to Fulop’s plan to have AEG Live, the second largest presenter of live music and entertainment events, control the venue.
Back in July, Colin Egan, the the director of FOL, told Hudson County View that move would make the theatre go from an arts center to a commercial concert venue, which is a “whole different mission and operation.”
“What Mayor Fulop said more than a year ago that he wants for the Loew’s is not very different from what FOL has been saying since we started the effort to save the Theatre from the wrecking ball many years ago: The Loew’s needs to be an arts center to serve and showcase our community,” the statement continues.
“To do this, there certainly needs to be big concerts by big promoters; but this has to be within a framework that makes everything else the Loews has to do sustainable, including affordability in the arts, youth programming, local arts, film, community interest activities and more.”
FOL also responded to a statement city spokesman Jennifer Morrill gave to The Jersey Journal on the matter, saying that Velasquez’s ruling prevents the ability to bring fresh entertainment to the theatre, also hindering the restoration process.
“The statement that City Hall put out this afternoon about the Judge’s ruling shows genuine upset — FOL understands this, because we’ve had to deal with disappointment and upset for years as past administrations were not able to keep their commitments of support,” they said.
“But now is the time to find common ground and move forward together.”
Morrill did not immediately respond to an email from Hudson County View on Friday night.