JERSEY CITY — The operator of Newark's Prudential Center arena has signed on to transform a historic theater in Journal Square.

Devils Arena Entertainment will partner with the city to restore the majestic Loew's Theater and remake it into a state-of-the-art performing arts venue, Mayor Steven Fulop announced Monday.

Construction is expected to begin next year on the nearly century-old theater, which has more than 3,000 seats and was built in the late 1920s in the ornate style of classic European opera houses.

The theater hosted the likes of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby and many other big names, eventually became a movie theater and was boarded up in the 1980s. A local group has put on smaller shows there since the 1990s.

The $72 million facelift will include major infrastructure improvements and technology upgrades, and also will preserve the theater's historic stage lighting control board, pop-up microphone and orchestra and organ lifts, according to the city.

Prudential Center, home to the NHL's New Jersey Devils and Seton Hall University basketball, ranked 15th among U.S. arenas in ticket sales in 2019, according to Pollstar.

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