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.