Loews Jersey Resurrection

Jersey City, N.J., officials are looking to the historic  as part of the city’s resurgence, with the commitment of millions of dollars and professional management.

It’s hoped the old movie palace, once refurbished, will compete with regional concert halls like the  in Newark and  in Montclair.

“I’m trying to think bigger,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop told the Wall Street Journal.

He sure is.

The Loews Jersey is part of a $600 million development and KRE Dgroup has pledged to kick in another $2.5 million toward restoring the theatre.

The project, with 1,840 market-rate units and commercial space, is the first major development in the area in 30 years, and will rise at least 54 stories, according to the paper.

It’s expected to cost $3.4 million just to get the Loews up to code, and another $21 million to fully renovate, according to city figures reported by the Journal.

The balance may come from bonds being considered by the city.

The Loews Jersey once hosted artists including Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway before the area began to decline in the 1960s.

The theatre was closed in 1986, but the city reportedly bought it for $325,000 in 1993 with the intention of restoring it. A preservation group, Friends of the Loews, over the next 10 years made hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to the theatre.

It opened for special events in 2001 and the city signed a lease with the group for $1 per year in 2004.

Loews Jersey hosts about 50 events a year, and has  currently on the books in January. It’s closed in the summer because it has no air conditioning.

But the city intends to turn that around.

“This is a city asset. It’s funded by taxpayers,” Fulop said. “The goal is to make money.”