Centre Pompidou x Jersey City Project Mired in Dispute over Funding Issues

New Jersey officials are arguing over finances for Centre Pompidou‘s Jersey City outpost, which has already been the subject of controversy among Republican politicians in the state.

The museum, which will open in 2026, was once expected to receive roughly $58 million in state funding, with $34 million from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and $24 million from the Department of State. But the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA), which coordinates funding and support for projects like this one, told NJEDA in March that it is anticipating annual revenue of around $4 million. Recurring expenses will total more than $23 million, the agency said, and this means that the new museum outpost could operate at a $19 million annual deficit.

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In April, NJEDA wrote a letter to the JCRA about the potential budget deficit, according to a report by NJBIZ. In that letter, NJEDA spoke of a “lack of an operating plan,” warning that it would potentially drop its funding for the museum.

“It is evident that strides have been made in identifying funding sources, including substantial state appropriations and potential tax credits under the recently enacted Cultural Arts Incentives Program,” Tim Sullivan, NJEDA chief executive, said in the April letter. “However, it is also apparent that the persistent operating gap continues to pose a substantial challenge.”

NJEDA also questioned the funding of the museum’s construction and its economic impact on the community.

Governor Phil Murphy told Artnet News that the funding remains intact for now.

Diana Jeffrey, executive director of the JCRA, wrote in response that it would consider the letter an “honest willingness” by the state to continue its funding of the project, noting that the costs of construction and operating costs are “in line” with comparable museums and institutions.

“For example, the original plan put forth by the state, and evidenced in our first state budget appropriation, dedicated such initial $24 million of state grant funding from the Council on the Arts to offset operational costs,” Jeffrey wrote. “At the time of the first state budget appropriation, the proposed annual operating budget for the [Centre Pompidou x Jersey City] after earned income was approximately $22.5 million. We worked diligently to decrease that amount, so that today that amount is now $19 million, and likely lower.”

The project is further complicated by collaborations with foreign governments and multiple stakeholders. Concerns about timing also loom large because, as Sullivan stated, the funding “has a federal clock attached to it.”

Two draft economic impact reports obtained by the Jersey Journal, however, indicate that the satellite museum could be “an expensive burden for nearby property owners, yielding higher taxes without much direct benefit.”

With a projected annual attendance between 100,000 to 250,000 visitors, the report estimates a generated revenue of $5.5 million to $14.1 million in spending across dining, retail, hotel, and transportation. Property taxes, however, are slated to increase to an annual addition of $11.8 million.

The state authority is currently reviewing JCRA’s updated revenue model.

The Centre Pompidou has not responded to an ARTnews request for comment.

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