FREMONT -- Pacific Commons and NewPark Mall are just 2 miles apart, but they appear to be headed in opposite directions.
NewPark, which opened in Newark in 1980, was the Tri-City area's retail king for decades but has lost several stores in recent years. Pacific Commons in south Fremont, meanwhile, has added shops, restaurants and a movie theater, boosting sales and generating ever-growing buzz since it opened in 2004. The Block at Pacific Commons, the outdoor shopping center's entertainment component that includes a cinema multiplex, was built last year.
"We want the residents of Fremont to meet their shopping needs within Fremont," said Christina Briggs, the city's economic development manager. "That can happen with retail activity like this."
Pacific Commons' growth trend has continued this autumn, as The Men's Wearhouse and TJ Maxx/HomeGoods joined Target and Century Theatres on the list of stores that left the Newark mall or the surrounding area and then opened at the Fremont shopping center.
And more are on the way. Sleep Number, a bed-and-mattress store, is expected to open Friday, said Sean Whiskeman of Catellus, the developer that owns Fremont's 110-acre retail zone. Five more -- Krispy Kreme; T-Mobile; Which Wich Superior Sandwiches; Firehouse Subs; and The Habit, a burger restaurant -- will be added next month.
That will increase Pacific Commons' number of tenants to 51, Whiskeman said. Catellus also is in talks with at least one more store that will fill The Block's available 75,000 square feet of retail, but terms have not yet been finalized, Whiskeman said.
The shopping center's growth reflects increases in Fremont's population and its reputation as a Silicon Valley bedroom community, Briggs said. "Fremont's retail offerings are finally catching up with its dramatic shift in demographics in the last 10 years," she said.
But don't count out NewPark Mall just yet, Newark officials said.
The shopping center still has more than 100 stores on more than 1 million square feet, making it one of the Bay Area's largest malls, said Terrence Grindall, Newark's community development director. NewPark also is surrounded by valuable land that still offers many shops and eateries, all within a 150-acre retail zone the city calls the Greater NewPark Mall Area.
Its location next to Interstate 880 and near shoppers in Fremont and Newark still makes it a prime spot, Grindall said, adding that city officials want to develop a clear vision that revitalizes what could be a thriving, modern retail zone.
Newark has begun forming a NewPark Mall Master Plan, and, in January, officials aim to continue that process by engaging nearby property owners, real estate experts and residents.
"It's still a great site, a great opportunity," Grindall said. "Despite its competition with Pacific Commons, NewPark is an indoor walkable space that provides a sense of place. That's something Pacific Commons doesn't have."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.