Carteret, NJ – Mayor Dan Reiman was joined by Council President Susan Naples to announce that the Borough has officially closed title on the purchase of the former Vallone’s Bakery, which closed operations in 2013. The site, located along the Washington Avenue business district, formerly housed the Ritz Theater from 1928-1965. Borough consultants will now begin the process of preparing plans to restore the site to its original use and create the cornerstone of what will become a local arts district.
“Once restored, the performing arts center will house a 1,250 seat auditorium to host theatrical and musical performances, in a fashion similar to Count Basie in Red Bank or the Mayo in Morristown,” commented Mayor Reiman. “In just a few short years, downtown Washington Avenue will become the entertainment center for local residents and draw visitors from throughout New Jersey.”
In addition to the performing arts center and concert hall, plans for the site call for constructing a movie theater located directly adjacent to the existing structure. Organized similar to SOPAC in South Orange, the two components of the Ritz will be operated independently but synchronically, with similar visions and goals.
“This is one of the most exciting projects I have had the opportunity to be a part of since I first joined the Borough Council, “added Council President Naples. “As a lifelong Carteret resident, I grew up attending the Ritz in its glory days, and I am happy to be a part of its restoration so many years later.”
The Borough is in the process of establishing a non-profit agency to fundraise towards the project and oversee the theater’s operations once completed. Borough officials hope to have construction ready plans available early next year and to reopen the theater in 2017.