Revitalization of downtown Jersey City advances as rehabilitation of Loew’s Theatre wins $42.27 million in historic tax credits

On October 12, 2022, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board approved the award of Historic Property Reinvestment Program (HPRP) tax credits to support rehabilitation of the historic Loew’s Theatre.

This much-anticipated project that is expected to help continue the revitalization of downtown Jersey City.

Loew’s Jersey Theatre in 2006. Photo by Wally Gobetz via Wikipedia.

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,” said Governor Phil Murphy.

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,” he added.

This project, which marks the first award under the 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 authorized the award of $42.27 million in tax credits, representing 45 percent of the eligible cost under the project, which has an estimated total cost of $110 million.

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,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer 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,” he continued.

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 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.

The program incentivizes work that can significantly contribute to the revitalization of cities and downtowns into more vibrant magnets for people and investment, while preserving often underutilized historic properties and returning them to productive use.

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,” said 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. We are very grateful to Governor Murphy and the NJEDA for their commitment to seeing historic properties turned into thriving cultural centers and for recognizing our efforts to restore this critical community asset,” he explained.

Mayor Fulop 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.

The HPRP marks the first time that New Jersey has offered support specifically designed to rehabilitate historic buildings for 21st century use while ensuring that their historic integrity remains in place, so this is a very exciting day for Historic Preservation in the state,” said NJEDA Director of Historic Preservation Aidita Milsted.

We have seen a great response to this program and look forward to bringing additional projects from Community Development before the NJEDA Board in the coming months,” she concluded.

Milsted noted that the 2023 application round for the Historic Property Reinvestment Program is expected to begin accepting applications for Regular and Transformative Projects on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. The application round will close at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2023.

Featured rendering courtesy of City of Jersey City.

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