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'Siena at St. Clair' design for former Consol site is on way

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Developers will present designs on Feb. 21 for the site that once housed Consol Energy Inc. in Upper St. Clair, where a Whole Foods Market will anchor a shopping and office center.

Thirty-four townhouses and patio houses are proposed to augment the commercial development on the 28 acres.

Jerry Cipriani, partner Hal Kestler, and Cipriani's architect son, Justin, will show the township planning commission their master plan for “Siena at St. Clair,” to replace the Consol office building that crews demolished at Route 19 and Fort Couch Road.

They discussed many elements of the plan — retail along the highway, housing toward the rear of the property, and a green buffer between the development and its neighbors — during eight months of contentious meetings before officials approved zoning for the project.

“We did what we went to the mat for, with the (zoning) amendment,” said Justin Cipriani.

Whole Foods signed a lease in November and anticipates opening in 2015. The specialty grocer would be along Route 19, south of Consol Drive, with its main entrance and half its parking lot facing the development. The rest of the grocery parking and the garbage and delivery areas, will be beneath the store because of houses on nearby Fieldgate Drive, Cipriani said.

“It should feel pretty comfortable back there with all that space,” he said.

On the other side of Consol Drive, a two-story office/retail building will tuck into the slope and will have parking on either side.

Several tenants are working with the developers, including Starbucks for a drive-through location, and Burgatory, which would mark its fourth Pittsburgh-area branch following an expansion to Robinson and a planned North Shore location, said Cipriani.

Smaller shops, restaurants and offices would fill out the development. Cipriani and Kestler dropped plans to move Best Buy from its nearby Bethel Park building to the site after neighbors got assistance from “Sprawl Busters,” a Greenfield, Mass.-based consultant that helps communities fight expansion of big-box retailers.

The townhouses and 21 patio homes proposed for the tract would have master bedrooms on the main level, to appeal to older home buyers or younger ones comfortable with single-level condo or loft living, Cipriani said. Market demand indicated that type of housing would sell better than condominiums or apartments, which were originally planned, he said.

If the project is approved by the township and not challenged in court, crews could break ground by early 2014, Cipriani said. Courts last year rejected a lawsuit and appeals by neighbors who sought to block the zoning decision. They cited traffic, sprawl and crime concerns in their lawsuit.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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