Funding Withdrawal Puts Pompidou Centre x Jersey City Project in Jeopardy

The Pompidou Centre x Jersey City project, which aimed to establish a satellite location of the iconic French modern art museum in Jersey City, is facing uncertainty after the state withdrew millions in funding. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has expressed the city’s intention to explore alternative options and find a way forward. The funding withdrawal is attributed to the mayor’s shift in allegiance from New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy to U.S. Rep. Andy Kim in the U.S. Senate election.

Jersey City’s spokeswoman, Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, stated that the change in funding was solely due to political dynamics and the first lady’s unsuccessful candidacy. She also questioned the sincerity of the state’s financial concerns, citing the approval of over $500 million in legislative spending. Discussions with international partners will be held in the coming week to determine the project’s future.

In a letter to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), the Department of State Deputy Executive Director Michael Greco informed JCRA Executive Director Diana Jefferey that there is no longer any state support available for the project. The project was projected to incur an annual loss of $19 million. The New Jersey Economic Development Agency (NJEDA) also notified Centre Pompidou President Laurent Le Bon that the project is no longer feasible due to financial burdens, global supply chain conflicts, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an irreconcilable operating gap.

The loss of the Pompidou Centre x Jersey City project would significantly impact the city’s plans to transform Journal Square into an arts and entertainment tourist destination. The project, which involved the renovation of the 110-year-old Pathside Building, was seen as a sign of the neighborhood’s revitalization. However, concerns were raised by the state in April regarding the project’s $19 million annual operational deficit. The city submitted a revised operating budget dependent on fundraising, state tax credits, and grants.

Out of the $48 million initially allocated by the state, $24 million budgeted for 2024 was de-appropriated, $6 million was requested to be returned, and the remaining $18 million for 2022 was canceled. The expected opening of the museum in 2024 had already been pushed back to 2027, leaving the completion of the project to the next mayor, as Mayor Fulop is running for governor in 2025. The construction of the museum was estimated to cost $175 million and was expected to generate economic activity for the state but fall short for Jersey City residents.

Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, a mayoral candidate, expressed concerns about the escalating costs for taxpayers and renters, emphasizing the need to address other pressing demands in the city. Other mayoral candidates, such as Bill O’Dea and Mussab Ali, have different perspectives on the project, with O’Dea wishing the city luck in finding a way forward and Ali suggesting alternative uses for the funds.

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