NEWARK, Calif. (KTVU) - For fans, who couldn't make it out to Oracle Arena to watch the Oakland Warriors take on the San Antonio Spurs, the next best thing was watching the NBA game on a IMAX screen. Some 250 fans packed the AMC IMAX theater at NewPark Mall in Newark to make history.
The sold-out crowd helped increase foot traffic, which the mall hasn't seen in awhile.
Warriors fans lined up as early as 4 p.m. in the afternoon at the AMC IMAX theatre for the 7:30 p.m. tipoff. It was the first-ever live streamed sporting event in the country at an IMAX theatre. Many fans said they never set foot inside NewPark Mall let alone Newark before.
"It's next to Fremont and Union City," said Mike Wong of Moraga. "Otherwise I don't know much about Newark."
"I've always known it to be a slow mall as far as foot traffic and limited in the stores that are available," said Jessica Williams of Hayward.
However, all that is about to change. The 12-screen theatre is the beginning of a $40 million transformation of the 30-year-old mall. It will include a two-story, glass enclosed food pavilion not to mention high end restaurants, stores and a family entertainment center.
"Ecstatic is really the word to say," said Alan Nagy who is the Mayor of Newark. "We've waited a long time for this."
Nagy said 272,000 people drive by the mall every day on Interstate 880. The city of Newark is 13 square miles with a population of 44,000 people and is surrounded by the city of Fremont. Nagy hopes the mall will boost the sales tax revenue.
"Our sales tax has been pretty static for the last several years mainly due to the recession," said Nagy. "We've lost businesses to other communities so this will be a shot in the arm for the sales tax and put us back on good footing."
Jessica Williams from the East Bay said change is needed for the practically deserted mall that's shown its wear through the years.
"Just the movie theatre alone was really exciting that I got to break it in for an amazing event like this," said Williams. "We've been meaning to come here so I'm sure a lot of people will get the word out about the nice movie theatre and restaurants."
The City hopes this mall will be a springboard for more housing and more jobs. Most of the renovations are expected to completed by October.