Several years of planning to bring a world-class arts facility to the heart of Journal Square are set to pay off in a big way following a major museum reaching a deal to expand into New Jersey’s second-largest city.
On June 4, Governor Phil Murphy and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop held a digital press conference to announce that Centre Pompidou will be bringing their first North American satellite museum to 25 Journal Square. The Paris-based museum, opened in 1977, is one of France’s most visited institutions and has hosted exhibits from renowned artists including Pablo Picasso and Salvadore Dali over its 44-year run.
The Pompidou opened an outpost in Málaga, Spain, in 2015 and expanded to Brussels three years later. 2019 saw the opening of their Shanghai location and the museum has announced that they expect their Centre Pompidou x Jersey City endeavor to open during 2024.
The potential of a new museum in what is known as the Pathside building has been discussed since at least 2018, when Jersey City purchased the building for $9 million. Built in 1912 as part of a trolley compound for Public Service, the property was previously used by Hudson County Community College.
Jersey City selected the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and Jason Long to design the museum and the firm is still on board with the Pompidou project. The 58,000-square- foot building will be transformed into a destination under the plan, bringing Journal Square back to its roots.
“Historically, Journal Square was not only a transportation hub but also a cultural center,” said Long. “At a time where museums are increasingly serving as dynamic spaces that engage both local communities and global audiences, we are looking forward to working with the Mayor to transform the Pathside Building into a catalyst for Jersey City’s cultural and civic renaissance.”
In terms of programming guests can expect at Jersey City’s spin on Pompidou, the museum will feature exclusive exhibitions created with art masterpieces from the Paris location’s collection, as well as tailor-made and diversified events. The Pompidou announced that a “community component central to the city’s ambitious and inclusive vision for the future” will be included in the experience.
Jersey City released some images of what the four-floor building could look like when announcing the move. The property’s rooftop has the potential to be used as space for guests, something the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) stressed in a Request for Proposals (RFP) they released.
Bringing the Pompidou to Jersey City will not come cheap and the city has agreed to take the financial responsibility for renovating the structure. The city council will be voting soon on a final reading to approve a bonding measure that will set aside $15 million towards the existing building’s renovation, although the exact cost of the project remains unclear.
Jersey City will also pay the museum a yearly fee that covers project development, branding, and the organization of exhibitions, which Fulop says will peak at $6 million annually. While the deal has been announced, the city council will still need to formally approve the plan at a later date.