Laurel Theatre Given Temporary “Stay of Execution”
BRIDGETON, NJ — The 1950 Laurel Theatre, located in downtown Bridgeton, was given a nod by the city’s Historic Commission last week as two local non-profit groups were given 30 days to find money or present a VERY compelling argument against demolition.
The theater was built in 1950, having been erected in only 14 months upon the ashes of its magnificent predecessor, the Criterion. There has been a theater or entertainment house on this property for over 150 years.
The city argues that it is an eyesore and a public hazard. The roof has extensive damage and water has been leaking into the building for about two decades. The interior is a mess. Full removal of all interior fixtures, down to the brick walls, is most likely necessary.
The structure itself is in great shape. The building is sound and the roof beams are still good. We’ve basically got a shell of what was once one of the most beautiful top-of-the-line in modern art-deco design.
We desperately need corporate sponsorship for this project. Bridgeton is a suffering town. Industry is almost totally gone. Our downtown, which boasts “the largest historic district in NJ”, is disappearing one fire at a time.
We have a vision for a performing arts center in this building and we think in will help revive the town. We’ve been given a very shot timeline to come up with something, so anyone who can help please respond or email .