Restoration of Depression-era Loew’s Theater in Jersey City theater gets boost

A majestic, Depression-era theater in Jersey City is moving one step closer to being restored.

News 12 Staff

Jun 12, 2020, 2:02 AM

Updated 1,407 days ago

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A majestic, Depression-era theater in Jersey City is moving one step closer to being restored.
The city announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with a historic preservation group to solicit bids for a promoter and venue operator to resurrect Loew's Theatre in Journal Square. The theater was built in the late 1920s and hosted the likes of Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby and many other big names.
It eventually became a movie theater and was boarded up in the 1980s. A preservation group, Friends of the Loew's, has put on smaller shows there since the 1990s.
The theater has a 1920s-era pipe organ, 3,000 seats and an ornate three-story lobby. The restoration will not change these aspects. But the building will be updated, including American Disabilities Act requirements and fire code requirements.
But the timing of the announcement raises some questions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic with live entertainment on hold.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says that he believes the post-pandemic future of live entertainment is bright.
“Facilities like this from a community and tourism standpoint are going to be crucial to the future of the city, regardless of the current state we’re in at this moment,” says Fulop.
The announcement seems to end a yearslong battle between the city and the volunteer group that is currently operating the Loew’s. That group has been concerned about preserving the historic value of the theater.
The city is asking for proposals from major entertainment companies and hopes to choose one later this summer.
An estimated $40 million in renovations would be financed by the new operator and tax credits, according to city officials.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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