NewPark Specific Plan Moves Forward

by: Emily Wheeler | March 13, 2018

The ELS team of Ryan Call, Associate Principal and Director of Urban Design, and David Masenten, Director of Mixed-Use, presented the ongoing NewPark Specific Plan to a joint meeting of the Newark Planning Commission and City Council on March 1st. Working with EMC Planning group in conjunction with the City of Newark, ELS has provided the master planning and urban design component for the NewPark Specific Plan that will transform the area surrounding the NewPark Mall into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. The area is planned for 1,500 residential units along with new retail, office, and hotels, all connected with parks, plazas, and a street network that prioritizes pedestrian use to activate the spaces.

The Specific Plan project is part of an early wave of mall redevelopment that seeks to redefine former retail destinations as the centerpieces of new neighborhoods, reviving the existing asset by making it a much-desired amenity for residents and office workers. The NewPark plan replaces two anchors—one downsized, the other relocated—with new outdoor entertainment and retail plazas designed to drive traffic through the mall and provide outdoor destinations that connect the ends of the main retail street. The Specific Plan also creates a street grid that extends beyond the mall to help catalyze and connect neighboring properties into the new mixed-use community. The transformation creates a shopping and living network in which the existing mall plays a key part, capitalizing on people’s desire to live in a walkable, compact neighborhood with entertainment, restaurants, and shopping just steps away.

Prior to the Specific Plan, ELS worked with the Rouse Company realize the renovation of the old Target anchor into a new cinema, which recently won the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Gold Medal Award in the Retail Design category. ELS also designed the new Restaurant Row, an outward facing, two-floor plaza that has given new life to the mall and the Specific Plan area.

Final approval for the project by City Council is anticipated next month. A number of property owners within the Specific Plan area have already developed proposals based on the master plan, and the City anticipates submittal of the first proposed projects shortly after Council approval. ELS is excited to see the next phase of the NewPark Mall area as it grows into a new mixed-use destination in the East Bay.