The Jersey City Museum got $50,000 closer to an official groundbreaking last week as real estate giant Mack-Cali made a contribution that will enable construction to begin ahead of time. The museum is building a new home so that it can move into a larger space in an old warehouse at the corner of Montgomery and Monmouth streets. The museum is currently housed on the fourth floor of the main branch of the Jersey City Library at Montgomery Street and Jersey Avenue. This structure "is a wonderful example of the role a building can play in urban revitalization," said Nina Jacobs, executive director for the Museum. "In its almost 80 years, this grand old building has served four generations in different ways, starting out as a parking garage in the 20s, later as a supermarket in the 50s, then as a warehouse." The property, vacant since the early 1970s, was donated by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency to be used as a new site for the museum. The existing space covers 20,000 square feet, but after construction is completed sometime next year, the museum will be approximately 30,000 square feet, according to a recent press release. An official groundbreaking scheduled for next month will kick off the construction and renovations. But until then, the Mack-Cali grant money will allow the museum to begin preliminary gutting and breaking up of the existing debris. The first step in the renovation process, according to Jacobs, is the demolition and removal of the building's concrete ground floor. "The museum's effort to build a new home has been given an important boost by the Mack-Cali gift," Jacobs said. Official groundbreaking ceremonies are scheduled for April. "Mack-Cali is pleased to partner with the Jersey City community by assisting in this exceptional effort," said Mitchell Hersh, chief executive officer of Mack-Cali. "Our company is committed to enhancing the Jersey City community through high-quality programs, services and activities." The award-winning museum, which focuses on contemporary art and regional history, maintains a collection of more than 20,000 objects of art and artifacts, according to Jacobs. The museum, which is currently located on the fourth floor of the Jersey City Library on Montgomery Street, has served Jersey City residents since 1902. Mack-Cali's donation of $50,000 qualifies to be matched, dollar-for-dollar, through a challenge grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, which will result in a $100,000 gift to the Museum. Mack-Cali, a Cranford-based real estate investment trust that has more than 250 properties spread over 12 states, is the developer of the Harborside Financial Center. The waterfront office plaza has attracted top international firms and leased almost all of its first three waterfront buildings. The developer has filled more than 1.9 million square feet of office space and continues to look ahead with the development of 3.9 million square feet in five new office towers. The developer has plans to build what will become the state's tallest building, the 59-story Plaza VII on the waterfront, just north of Harborside. Once complete, Harborside will have more than six million square feet of office, hotel and residential space. On Harborside's north end, Mack-Cali plans to develop the 56-story office building that will be known as the American Financial Exchange. It is slated to contain 1.8 million square feet of office space and 32 elevators. Last month, the Jersey City Museum gained $22,450 in federal aid that was part of an $11 million package given to the city to divide among various city programs.