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Whole Foods to open third area store in Upper St. Clair

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 3:46 p.m.

A one-mile stretch of Washington Road in Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair is becoming a mecca for specialty food stores with the planned addition of a Whole Foods Market, the region's third location for the popular grocery chain.

Whole Foods signed a lease for a store at the site of the former Consol Energy Inc. headquarters in Upper St. Clair, the 315-store chain and developers of the property said on Wednesday.

The chain is known as a “destination store” because of its unique products, including a wide array of organics, with the Pittsburgh-area stores drawing customers from Erie, Youngstown and Morgantown.

Mt. Lebanon-based KGA Partners is the developer. Whole Foods anticipates a fall 2015 store opening. Austin-based Whole Foods has locations in Wexford and Shadyside.

By the time the store opens, Whole Foods could be just one of five specialty grocery stores along Washington Road.

A Giant Eagle Market District and Trader Joe's are located in Bethel Park. Demolition is under way to accommodate a Fresh Market on a lot across from The Galleria in Mt. Lebanon.

And Fletcher, N.C.-based Earth Fare Market next week intends to present a proposal to Upper St. Clair officials to open its first Pennsylvania store in the former Dick's Sporting Goods location at South Hills Village.

The planned Whole Foods store, with 222 parking spaces, would occupy part of the 28-acre lot at the corner of Washington and Fort Couch roads, across from South Hills Village mall.

Property owners Hal Kestler and Gerard Cipriani spent months working with township officials last year to allow “mixed-use” zoning for retail and housing on the former Consol property. Upper St. Clair planning director Scott Brilhart said the developers have not filed plans for approval.

Crews are razing the office building that housed Consol until 2008, when the company moved to Cecil.

Cipriani and Kestler told the township of plans to develop “upscale” retail there, hinting to neighbors about Whole Foods and potentially relocating Best Buy from Bethel Park.

Residents expressed concern about traffic and customers the grocer would draw from other communities.

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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