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Challenges Ahead for Newark Businesses

Council to discuss the status of Newark's economic development.

Despite the closure of both large and small businesses in town, city officials are optimistic about Newark’s economic development.

Positive signs in 2011 include the summer on Jarvis Avenue and the its offices into a 263,000-square- foot complex in Newark’s Pacific Research Center in 2012.

And the City Council recently approved a project that would to make room for an Autozone and a drive-thru Starbucks, which is slated to open next year.

Still, Community Development Director Terrence Grindall said, many challenges remain.

Grindall will discuss the status of the city’s economic development at Thursday night’s council meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd.

The issue was discussed at the Planning Commission's Tuesday night meeting, with Grindall stating that Newark’s most immediate challenge is the competition from “mega-malls” such as Santana Row and Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara, coupled with shoppers’ tendencies to frequent power centers such as Pacific Commons in Fremont.

Newark lost to Pacific Commons, when the store, which had been in Newark for at least a decade, moved to the Fremont shopping center in September.

And while there has been no formal announcement, Grindall said Newark’s and  located near NewPark Mall might be severely impacted by plans in Fremont to build a movie theatre and Target in the Pacific Commons area.

Regardless, Newark’s vacancy rates in retail areas have decreased, and sales are up, according to the council’s agenda report for Thursday’s meeting. 

Grindall told the Planning Commission on Tuesday that city officials have been coordinating with management on the potential closure of Newark’s Target and movie theater.

General Manager Kelly Gardner has also noted recently that NewPark Mall has seen an increase in sales and occupancy rates at the mall. More up there by November.

Mowry Crossing, the shopping center across NewPark that once housed Circuit City, Rasputin and Mervyns, continues to be a concern, Grindall said.

The retail center has been vacant for years, but Grindall said the developer has recently applied for permits to demolish the buildings. Grindall said this is a positive step.

To improve its retail centers, Grindall said Newark city officials are focusing on bringing a diverse selection of retail stores with “higher quality.”

Also on Thursday’s council agenda:

  • A vote on whether to allow Mayor David Smith to sign a five-year agreement between First Responder Advanced Life Support Services and the county of Alameda.
  • A vote on whether to allow the city’s public works director to apply for a Rubberized Pavement Grant Program that bring in $100,000 for fiscal years 2012-14 to be used on cape seal projects on Newark streets.
  • A vote on whether to accept the work with Rosas Brothers Construction for the 2011 Curb, Gutter and Sidewalk Replacement, Project 979, which has been completed.

For more information or to see the agenda, click here or see the attached PDF.

Michael Warren October 14, 2011 at 06:35 PM
I am also very disapointed with our current leadership for the City of Newark. I have found that I and many other friends do probably 70% of our shopping outside of Newark. What a shame. We go to other malls that have far more quality stores that fit our needs. The malls are more modern, cleaner and feel safer. This city has lacked restaurants for many years while at the same time canidates always claim they will bring restaurants to Newark, but never do. It is the same old political crap. Newark is in big trouble and has declined considerably while Fremont and Union City flourish. I always find myself down at Pacifice Commons or up at Union Landing shopping. I am always amazed at all of the cars and customers at these two locations. Makes our mall look like a graveyard. Actually, malls like Newpark are becoming obsolete. Strip malls like Pacifice Commons and Union Landing are becoming the standard. This is well established back east and has become the norm. I have lived in Newark, worked in Newark for over 40 years and I am so disapointed with where this city is going. I have seen many malls down south where they have them encircled with multible restaurants of all kinds. Great idea. Wake up Newark...Our favorite place to shop is Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton and it is well worth the drive. We are always over there shopping and going to that areas hundreds of good restaurants.
Nika Megino October 14, 2011 at 06:57 PM
I checked with the city to confirm this: The Starbucks would be a relocation, meaning the one by Safeway facing Newark Boulevard would close once the drive-thru one is built and up and running. The kiosk inside of Safeway will stay there.
Donalyn Deeds October 15, 2011 at 01:14 AM
I admit, I also do not do much of my non-grocery shopping in Newark. We have a bunch of junk stores; and even the better named stores, i.e., Macy's, look junky and have a low selection of trashy looking stuff. We asked Macy's at the mall why we could get such good stuff at Pleasanton or Stanford; they told us because Newark is a low income area and they only put in the low end merchandise. So we asked why it could not at least be clean and neat and not all junked up; again, they feel that this type of junky, low class, (their words, not mine) ethnic look, is what they feel sells in our area. I love Newark and would not really consider moving; but much of my shopping is truly done elsewhere. We all should consider our shopping/spending decisions. Make our expectations known to the retailers so that they understand that if they bring in quality "stuff", we WILL buy it.
nancy conklin October 15, 2011 at 06:57 PM
how about home goods its a great discount store beautiful things
Michael Warren December 28, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Additionally, I think the property on Mowry Ave where BJ's is, is prime property for multible restaurants. Make it Restaurant Row. Try something new City of Newark and once again be creative in your planning......The Grove at Newpark Mall is another piece of property where restaurants can be added in addition to where the theaters are currently and later to be razed....

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