OMA’s Centre Pompidou x Jersey City paused indefinitely by New Jersey state legislature

New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) officials announced recently that the OMA–designed Centre Pompidou x Jersey City project has been paused indefinitely. EDA CEO Tim Sullivan cited “the ongoing impact of COVID and multiple global conflicts on the supply chain, rising costs, an irreconcilable operating gap, and the corresponding financial burdens [the museum] will create for New Jersey’s taxpayers” as the decision’s main drivers.

Jersey City’s Centre Pompidou was supposed to open in 2026. But this summer, New Jersey Republicans raised concerns about the museum’s total construction and operational costs. On June 29, Sullivan wrote Centre Pompidou President Laurent Le Bon notifying him of the decision to defund the project in a letter obtained by New Jersey Monitor.

Jersey City’s Press Secretary Kim Wallace-Scalcione expressed frustration over the recent decision, and affirmed that the project’s not dead in the water. “It is really unfortunate,” Wallace-Scalcione told AN. “As we said earlier this year, absolutely nothing changed in this project from what the Governor and First Lady knew initially and what they reference now, and there is plenty of documentation to support our point. The only thing that changed is the politics in New Jersey and the First Lady’s failed candidacy.”

Wallace-Scalcione continued: “Furthermore, [Sullivan’s] most recent comments on financial concerns are obviously not sincere as the Governor signed off on more than $500 million in legislative Christmas tree items the last day of the budget, so clearly, financial responsibility of a budget is not a real concern. Over the next week, we need to discuss this with our partners abroad and see if there is a path forward.”

existing image of building
The Pathside Building was acquired by Jersey City in 2017. (Courtesy OMA)

OMA was first tapped to design a museum in downtown Jersey City in 2018 at the Pathside Building—a derelict 58,000-square-foot structure from 1912 that Jersey City acquired in 2017. Then in 2021, it was announced that the Pathside Building would host a new annex for Centre Pompidou, the French institution’s first satellite in North America. The Pathside Building was chosen for a few reasons, most presciently its generous floor plates and close proximity to the Journal Square PATH Station.

In Fiscal Year 2022, the New Jersey State Legislature allocated $24 million for the venture. On June 29, Michael Greco of the Department of State wrote to the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) in a separate letter declaring it had cancelled $18 million set aside for the project, and that JCRA has until August 1 to return $6 million it had been previously given.

AN has reached out to OMA for comment.

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