French museum, New Jersey city seek cultural alliance


The Statue of Liberty could be getting some company from her native France.

State, local and museum officials on Friday announced a planned partnership between Paris’ Pompidou Center and New Jersey’s Jersey City to transform a gutted industrial building into a satellite museum in the heart of a transportation hub for thousands of commuters that is not far from where Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbor.

Centre Pompidou x Jersey City, scheduled to open in 2024, would be the French museum’s first venture in North America, said Centre Pompidou President Serge Lasvignes. It currently has sites in Metz, France; Shanghai, China; Malaga, Spain; and Brussels, Belgium.

The satellite would be completed in time for when the Paris museum, which houses more than 120,000 modern works of art in its unique architecture of exposed colored pipes and air ducts, undergoes a major renovation.

While the French would provide the art and expertise, Jersey City would provide the cash.

The city would pay up to $6 million phased in over the cost of the five-year contract for the Pompidou’s exhibitions, projects and educational programming, Mayor Steven Fulop said. In addition, the city would have to cover the estimated $30 million it would cost to renovate the Pathside Building.

The mayor said he was mindful of not handing the bill to taxpayers. Fulop said the money would be raised through donations and through the creation of a special improvement district for businesses in the Journal Square area to share the costs from a project that would benefit them.

“We can afford this,” Fulop said.

The plan to create the partnership next goes to the City Council, which Fulop said has been kept in the loop.

Jersey City acquired the 58,000 square foot (5,400 square meter) Pathside Building in 2018. It was built in 1912 as an office building for a utility and was last used by a community college. The building is located in Journal Square, where an average of 22,500 commuters daily ride trains between New Jersey and New York City, officials said.

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