Jersey City Issues RFP To Renovate and Reopen Historic Loew’s Theatre

Existing view of Loew's Theatre - Wikimedia CommonsExisting view of Loew's Theatre - Wikimedia Commons

A long-planned renovation of Jersey City‘s historic Loew’s Theatre may finally gain momentum following a request for proposals announced by Mayor Steven M. Fulop. The new RFP arrives as a collaboration between city officials and local non-profit agency Friends of Loew’s. As outlined by the RFP, the goal of the project is to substantially renovate and restore the gilded interiors of iconic structure and fully realize its potential to become a significant cultural venue.

Loew's Theatre Lobby - City of Jersey City

Loew’s Theatre Lobby – City of Jersey City

Located at 54 Journal Square in the Journal Square neighborhood, the theatre first opened in 1929 and is evocative of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The interiors incorporate vaulted ceilings, gold accents throughout, plush red drapes, and more than 3,000 seats. At the time, the theatre offered both live performances and cinematic features. That lasted until the mid-1930s, when the theatre decided to halt live performances to save costs.

Loew’s Theatre continued to function as a popular movie house until 1986 when the venue was closed, sold, and slated for demolition. This marked the birth of Friends of Loew’s, which called for the theatre to be reopened and restored as a multidisciplinary center of culture. Jersey City officials endorsed that vision and in 1993 purchased the property.

Since that time, the theatre has undergone some refurbishments including the removal of partitions to expand the main auditorium, updated mechanical systems, the installation of new projection equipment, and repairs to the stage lights, fly systems, and adjacent dressing rooms.

Construction costs for this phase of renovations are expected to reach $40 million and would require the involvement of an entity that would act as both venue operator and promoter. When completed, expected programming would include a regular schedule of live performances and films.

“I think we can create a practical partnership between FOL as a dynamic, community-based arts organization, and a major commercial promoter/venue operator so we can create something more expansive, successful, and contributory to our community than would be possible by either alone,” said Colin Egan, one of the founding members of Friends of the Loew’s. “FOL is committed to the goal of having the Loew’s host a regular schedule of commercial programming for the affordable enjoyment of area residents, and also as a means to provide support for the Theatre and other programming in it.”

Existing view of Loew's Theatre and surrounding streetscape- Wikimedia Commons

Existing view of Loew’s Theatre and surrounding streetscape- Wikimedia Commons

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6 Comments on "Jersey City Issues RFP To Renovate and Reopen Historic Loew’s Theatre"

  1. Beautiful building with grand lobby! Please restore ASAP!

    Would love to see movies here, compared to the generic corporate “shoeboxes” with ear drum shattering sound systems, and their dull lifeless interiors!

    Wish I lived in the 1930’s-1940’s, when going to the movies was a real treat, with studios who produced movies with stories and plots, and real ACTORS who made you want to see them, not like today where it’s all about CG green scenes, boring “actors”, poorly written scripts, inflated prices for concession crap, and ticket prices. The only thing the studios and theatre owners are concerned about is their bottom line and stockholders!

    Sad… ☹

  2. Robert Heikkila | June 16, 2020 at 11:20 am | Reply

    So glad to see this. I grew up in Jersey City and saw many a movie at Loew’s, The State theater (a real dump even way back then) around the corner and the Stanley (since restored) across the square.

  3. Next Loews at Grand Concourse Bronx

  4. David C Crosson | June 16, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Reply

    I was involved with the Stanley renovation across the street. These theaters are amazing when restored.

  5. Randall Cummings | June 16, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    Will they offer Good N Plenty and Milk Duds?

  6. Fantastic bldg. maybe a new (old) marquee is needed. Now, to complete Journal SQ., bring back the Tube Bar!

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