Jersey City is to become the sole North American location of a world-renowned Centre Pompidou, further strengthening the city’s goal of becoming a major arts and cultural destination.
The project is a cultural cooperation between France and the US. The Centre Pompidou in Paris houses one of world’s largest collections of modern and contemporary art, and has opened centers in Malaga, Spain (2015); Brussels, Belgium (2018), and Shanghai, China (2019).
The Jersey City location, to open in 2024 and officially be known as Centre Pompidou x Jersey City, will be located at the Pathside Building, across from the Journal Square PATH station. Built in 1912, the building originally served as office space and a trolley station for Public Service (today’s Public Service Enterprise Group). During the 1990s, the facility housed Hudson County Community College classrooms and a library.
In making the announcement this morning via a Zoom conference, Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop said the journey to get to this point today was about “dreaming big” and “implementing a vision.”
“I have always said our residents deserve the best, and I have never settled to commit to anything less,” Fulop said. “We have tried to think big with major transformational projects.”
Additional projects he mentioned include: SciTech Scity near the Liberty Science Center, for which tens of millions of dollars have been raised to create a premiere science campus; a new $200-million municipal complex on the city’s south side; and the $72-million renovation of the historic 3,000-seat Loews Theater, which was built in 1929.
Fulop thanked Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise, Hudson County Community College Chairman Bill Netchert, and the City Council for their cooperation in approving the purchase of the site and partnership with Centre Pompidou.
“The zoning for this space was for another high-rise development. It was slated to be sold to a developer,” Fulop said. “I believed we had the pieces here to attract a major international partner that wanted to be in the New York region.”
The Centre Pompidou x Jersey City is less than three miles from Manhattan, which is just a 15-minute PATH train ride from the Journal Square PATH Station.
The 58,000-square-foot facility, purchased for $10 million by the city, has four stories and a basement. According to Jason Long, a partner with OMA New York, the creative consulting group hired for the project, the ground level floor of the building has a 17-foot ceiling height. Other floors have 14-foot ceiling heights. “The floor plates and structural spaces are well suited for galleries with column-free areas,” he said.
Live from France during the conference was Centre Pompidou President Serge Lasvignes, who said there was no hesitation in partnering with Jersey City. “We share a lot of things [in common] with Jersey City and Mayor Fulop. We believe culture has to be a factor in [economic] development and that culture also has a social utility and purpose in building a more tolerant society,” he said.
Lasvignes added that museums are entering a new phase. “Museums have to go out and meet new audiences. … This is why the Centre Pompidou has decided to go to other countries and continents. We went to Malaga, Shanghai and Brussels, and when you start going overseas, the US immediately comes to mind,” he said.
The Centre Pompidou will provide the Jersey City location its expertise to create an ambitious program emphasizing education via hands-on artistic and cultural experiences. The Centre will also provide the site with exclusive exhibitions from its collection of 120,000 works of art.
Fulop estimates the full cost of the renovation to be somewhere between $10 million and $30 million.
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