With locations in Brussels, Shanghai, and Málaga, Spain, the Centre Pompidou's first North American museum is scheduled to open in Jersey City in 2024.

By Rachel Chang
June 07, 2021
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When Paris's iconic Centre Pompidou closes its doors in late 2023 for a three-year renovation, there will be a new place to experience its museum collection - more than 3,600 miles away.

The famed French institution is set to open its first North American outpost in a bit of an expected location: Jersey City, New Jersey.

Located just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, the diverse city with 262,075 residents is remarkably different from the Centre Pompidou's other outposts in Málaga, Spain (which opened in 2015), Brussels (opened in 2018), and Shanghai (opened in 2019). The Garden State's second-largest city has been making its mark on the national scene in recent years, especially noted with Mana Contemporary's 2016 Marilyn Monroe exhibit (curated by Whoopi Goldberg) and the country's biggest weekly open-air food market, Smorgasburg, opening there last month. But this announcement is a major step in putting Jersey City on the global map.

Scheduled to open in early 2024, the museum - which will be known as the Centre Pompidou x Jersey City - will be a cultural hub, following the same model as the Paris location, with both a museum of 20th and 21st century art from Pompidou's 120,000-piece collection, as well as events that bring together the arts and ideas, the city said in a release.

Rendering of Centre Pompidou x Jersey City
Credit: Courtesy of OMA

The museum will be located in the Pathside Building in Journal Square, just a 15-minute Path train ride from both the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and Newark's Penn Station. The 58,000-square-foot structure was originally set to become an apartment building, but the city administration purchased it in 2018 to help turn it into an arts destination.

"We are proud to welcome the Centre Pompidou to New Jersey and we look forward to the opening of what is destined to become one of the premier cultural attractions in North America," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a release. First Lady Tammy Murphy added, "As the state that is both first in the nation to provide universal arts education to our public-school students as well as the home to over 700 arts organizations, New Jersey is uniquely able to appreciate all that this incredible partnership will provide. We look forward to welcoming this storied cultural institution to Jersey City and the meaningful relationships, dialogues, and new perspectives that will undoubtedly come from it."

Conceptual building of Centre Pompidou x Jersey City
Credit: Courtesy of OMA

To help transform the space, architectural firm Oma will work with the city and Centre Pompidou on the design of the four-story building, which was originally built in 1912 for the Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and then became part of Hudson County Community College's campus from 1995 to 2017.

While Jersey City's city council still needs to approve the plan, if all goes well, the contract with Pompidou will last five years starting in 2024 with an option to extend, according to The New York Times. While Chicago had previously been in talks for an outpost, those plans fell to the wayside.

"I'm a big believer that if you want Jersey City to grow into one of the best midsized cities in the country, you need to invest in arts and culture, entertainment, restaurants, and nightlife," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told Travel + Leisure previously.

In addition to the Centre Pompidou x Jersey City, the mayor announced a $72 million restoration of the 1920s Loew's Theater, where Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, and George Burns have all appeared. The historic theater, also in Journal Square, is expected to open in 2025.