Jersey City is looking to turn a historic building in the Powerhouse Arts district into a new creative space for local artists and organizations in need of bargain-priced office and rehearsal venues, Mayor Steve Fulop said.
Fulop said Tuesday the city is rehabilitating the dilapidated brick building at 335 Washington St., between Morgan and Bay streets, into what will be called the Washington Street Creative Center. He said artists and non-profits across the city have expressed struggles with getting affordable office and rehearsal space.
“I really do think ultimately supporting arts and culture is what makes a city an interesting and attractive place to live,” Fulop said. “We want to make sure those non-profits and the creative class that is doing great work in the city are supported.”
The City Council introduced an ordinance on May 26 that will allow the city to bond for more than $86 million in capital improvements, including $2 million toward the creative center. The legislation could expect to be adopted at the next City Council meeting on June 16.
The building is part of a community giveback from the developer Mack Cali and is costing the city nothing. Fulop wants to raise an additional $2-3 million from developers who build in that area.
He said because the building is considered historic, it cannot be torn down. Construction could start as early as the fall and the mayor hopes to have the building completed by next year.
The creative center would add to an area that includes the recently opened Nimbus Dance Works, a 125-seat theater for Art House Productions and several other theaters, Jersey Digs reported.
Ward E Councilman James Solomon is excited about further investment in the arts Downtown. He said this is just step one in the process.
“I am eager to work with the administration and arts advocates to determine the best use for this space to support the arts community and create a unified republic space Downtown,” Solomon said.
There are no plans in place for who would fill the space on Washington Street, Fulop said.
“You have a lot of art organizations outside of Downtown that maybe can’t afford office space in Downtown, so we want to make sure that they have the opportunity,” Fulop said. “We don’t want them going anywhere else. We don’t want them leaving the city.”
Last week Fulop announced that the world renowned Centre Pompidou, a museum in Paris, France that boasts the largest collection of modern art in all of Europe, is opening a satellite location in Jersey City’s Journal Square, at the Pathside Building.