The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) board awarded $42.7 million in tax credits for renovations at Jersey City’s Loew’s Theatre earlier today.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
This project, which marks the first award under the Historic Property Reinvestment Program (HPRP), is expected to result in the complete rehabilitation of the historic theater for use as a live performance, movie, and entertainment venue.
The board’s allocation represents 45 percent of the eligible cost under the project, which has an estimated total cost of $110 million.
“By supporting projects like the revitalization of Loew’s Theatre into vibrant community assets, we are ensuring the long-term growth of local economies while preserving the history of iconic properties within New Jersey’s neighborhoods,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a statement.
“New Jersey’s rich entertainment history is one of our greatest assets and it is imperative that we continue to invest in our communities and enable them to maintain their historic structures.”
Created under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, the HPRP’s main focus is historic preservation as a component of community development, aiming to attract long-term private investment into New Jersey while preserving historic properties throughout the state.
“The long-awaited revitalization of Loew’s Theatre will be a tremendous economic driver that will lead to upholding the historic integrity of the property while offering new generations of New Jerseyans access to the performing arts,” added NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan.
“Governor Murphy has prioritized equitable and inclusive economic development and the HPRP is an important tool in achieving that goal as we work to improve the quality-of-life for residents statewide.”
Furthermore, the HPRP is designed to work in conjunction with the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program to encourage and bolster long-term private investments focused on the rehabilitation of existing identified historic structures throughout New Jersey.
As planned, the proposed Loew’s Theatre Rehabilitation Project will be a state‐of‐the‐art, 21st-century event space that will enhance the cultural, artistic, and community vibrancy of the Journal Square district, fostering economic prosperity in the neighborhood.
Upon completion, the theatre is anticipated to host around 150 events a year, in addition to several community programming events.
“The NJEDA’s announcement today is a testament not only to the growing value of historic redevelopment, but also to the importance of preserving arts and culture in our communities,” explained Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
“The Loew’s Theatre has stood for nearly 100 years as a major focal point here in Hudson County, and its transformation into an entertainment hub is a pivotal point to the continuing renaissance underway in Jersey City and our efforts to revive Journal Square.”
Fulop also noted that the rehabilitation work to Loew’s Theatre includes the building’s exterior, all public spaces, stage and support spaces, and modifications and upgrades to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
In addition, a new three-bay loading dock will be added at the rear of the theater, and a café is to be added along the south alley. Significant finishes at the interior and exterior will be rehabilitated or replicated where it was damaged beyond repair.
All work is being reviewed by the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission, the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, and the National Park Service, and will follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties.
In February 2021, the city announced that Devils Arena Entertainment would be taking on the $72 million renovation with an anticipated 2025 completion date.
This is not the first time in recent memory that Trenton has provided significant funding to aid Jersey City’s revitalization of Journal Square.
When the state legislature approved their $46.4 billion budget in June 2021, it included $24 million for the Centre Pompidou x Jersey City: which officials are anticipating will be “a leading international cultural hub.”