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April 5, 2005 > New Look for NewPark

New Look for NewPark

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

Laurel and Hardy, Austin Powers, the world-renowned Red Panda Acrobats and city of Newark Mayor Dave Smith's band Yowza were just a few of the highlights at the March 23, movie-themed groundbreaking ceremony at NewPark Mall.

Community members, business owners and elected officials turned out at the ceremony announcing the mall's multi-million dollar renovation. The event was held at noon on the second level of the mall's parking structure, the proposed site for a Century Theatres' 20-screen complex. This state-of-the-art movie theater will feature stadium seating, LucasFilm THX certification, wall-to-wall screens and an arcade and gourmet cafè.

An additional 100,000 square feet will be added to NewPark's existing 1,137,345 square feet, making way for the mammoth movie theater and a number of new stores and restaurants.

Although nothing has been confirmed, some of the retailers mentioned as possible additions Aeropostale, New York & Company, Christopher & Banks, FYE Music and the Sweet Factory.

"We are bringing the mall in to the new millennium," said NewPark Mall General Manager Gayle Spears. "We are trying to get away from the Miami Vice look [of teal blue and pink tile] it has now."

Green and brown hues along with natural lighting courtesy of enhanced skylights will create a nature-influenced dŽcor. Numerous plants will complete the earthy look, giving NewPark a more welcoming atmosphere, mall officials said at the groundbreaking.

NewPark will be more family friendly with the addition of a soft play area for children and new family restrooms featuring a nursing center and family lounge. A cushioned seating area will also be added along with renovated rest stops throughout the mall.

"A family-friendly, light and breezy atmosphere" is what the mall will develop into, stated NewPark's owner General Growth Properties Inc., on its website. GGP is the nation's second-largest operator of shopping centers and also owns Southland Mall in Hayward.

This will be the first major renovation the mall has undergone since it opened in 1980.
Mall renovations and completion of the theater are expected to be finished by the end of summer 2006.

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