Renovation of Loew’s Jersey Theater is set to begin next week, with a major concert hall opening in 2025

Renovations to transform Jersey City’s historic Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater into a grand concert hall are expected to begin next week, said the founder of the volunteer group who has worked meticulously on the hall’s restoration for the past 28 years. years.

Colin Egan, also director of the Friends of the Loew’s nonprofit, said his group was ordered to clean up the areas of the Journal Square theater so the initial work could begin with Devils Arena Entertainment (DAE) , the Newark-based operator of Prudential. Center which has entered into a partnership with the city to renovate and exploit the space.

DAE officials have said they expect the site to open in 2025.

Egan expected to continue programming until the end of 2021, but a Sunday wedding will be the last event at Loew’s, he said.

“We are a little surprised at the delay as we expected it to be longer,” he said. “We were concerned that it just might not be possible to pull off 30 years of equipment and supplies that we use for restoration and renovation work with volunteers and programming. They’re trying to make it clear that it’s not about “Get Out”, it’s just that we need things to move for the construction. “

Egan said the plan is for the Friends to return to the theater in two years and resume local programming. DAE officials could not be reached for comment.

Plans to build the opulent theater have yet to be finalized, Egan said. He said the “great work” will not start right away.

Loew’s Jersey was built in 1929 at a cost of $ 2 million and has hosted artists like Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington; and the Four Seasons and movie stars like Judy Garland and Humphrey Bogart. The story goes that Frank Sinatra was inspired to become a singer after taking a streetcar in Hoboken to see Crosby perform at the Journal Square theater in 1934.

The cinema closed its doors in 1986, because multiplex chains kept moviegoers away from smaller cinemas. The place was bought by Hartz Mountain and then sold to Jersey City in 1993. The Friends of the Loews leased it to the city and began its restoration efforts.

Under the $ 72 million deal, Devils Arena Entertainment will make improvements to the site’s infrastructure, visual and acoustic system, entrances and exits, as well as historic stage and lighting elements. . DAE will also operate the theater, booking and hosting acts and shows.

Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said the city was optimistic that the concert hall would open by 2024.

“We have already completed significant pre-development work in the theater and have held weekly meetings with all parties,” said Wallace-Scalcione. “Finally, the Friends of Loew’s have just completed their committed programming, which included a wedding and a film festival, so we think we can start the next phase shortly without disrupting community events. “

The creation of a large concert hall is seen as another milestone in Journal Square’s revival, following a number of high-rise residential developments.

“Once they start, I think it will go pretty well,” Ward C Councilor Rich Boggiano said. “Journal Square is progressing well. … It took many years, but eventually it all started to fall into place.

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