The Mercury News
NewPark Mall getting a new look
Update aims to attract millennial shoppers with fun, dining
NEWARK — The city’s regional shopping mall, NewPark, is about to join the slate of Bay Area retail centers that have recently completed multimillion-dollar renovations.
NewPark will soon unveil a new restaurant pavilion, the latest addition to the renovation that also includes a new common area with soft-seating and tables, enhanced entrances with big signage, new flooring and lighting, new escalators and elevators, and a slew of new retailers and restaurants.
The restaurant pavilion consists of glass-enclosed, exterior-facing restaurant spaces with patios on both levels, and it will house build-your-own pizza concept Pieology, which opened last week, and the fast-casual, East Bay-based Jack’s Restaurant & Bar, which is slated to open in December, along with other eateries.
Next spring, the mall will get a 60,000-squarefoot entertainment concept, John’s Incredible Pizza, that will include all-you-can-eat pizza pies, rides, games and bowling.
Before that happens, NewPark will see additions to its tenant lineup that include Starbucks and an expanded Victoria’s Secret in October, clothing and accessory chain Francesca’s and sushi restaurant Aniki’s Express (an extension of Aniki’s Sushi Restaurant and Sake Bar) in November, and a 24 Hour Fitness gym this winter.
The new dining and retail options join other recent additions to the mall, such as the 12-screen AMC Theatres location, an H&M store, Swarovski and ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery.
“Newark’s strong underlying fundamentals and proximity to Silicon Valley make it a highly attractive retail landscape,” Missy Heanue, a senior vice president for NewPark owner Rouse Properties, said in a company news release.
“As such, we knew that by transforming and repositioning NewPark, we would create the East Bay’s premier retail, dining and entertainment destination, which would make it the clear choice for the high number of leading brands who are looking to establish a flagship presence in this market.”
The renovation began in 2014. Rouse Properties indicated then that the renovation would cost $64 million but did not disclose the final cost of the redevelopment because the company has since gone from a public to a private company that does not disclose financial information, a representative said.
The renovation comes after a decade in which the shopping center suffered. In the years before the start of the renovation, Circuit City, Staples, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, TJ Maxx, Men’s Wearhouse, Cinedome Theaters and a multistory Target store all left Greater NewPark for other shopping centers, according to the city’s Master Plan document. Revenues that had been upward of $200 million in 2006 fell 35 percent to $130 million by 2012.
“The exciting developments completed at NewPark were designed to transform the shopping experience for the Newark community and add significant value for all those who visit and work at the property,” Rouse Properties’ Heanue said in the recent news release.
It’s not the only mall to reinvent itself. Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord recently unveiled a massive entertainment center, Round 1, that followed the opening of its food court and new retail openings. Hilltop mall in Richmond is expected to undergo a major redevelopment after its sale is complete, and even the already successful outdoor Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek is completing the final phases of a $250 million redevelopment.
Offering attractions such as entertainment and dining is one way malls are trying to lure millennial generation shoppers, retail experts say.
The consensus is that millennials spend more on experiences and dining than previous generations, and with more retail moving online, dining and entertainment options lure consumers to shopping centers that have them.