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Former Consol offices in Upper St. Clair fall to demolition

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, 12:18 a.m.
Old CONSOL building being torn down in Upper St. Clair Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Old CONSOL building being torn down in Upper St. Clair Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Old CONSOL building being torn down Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Old CONSOL building being torn down Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Old CONSOL building being torn down Thursday, October 18, 2012.
Old CONSOL building being torn down Thursday, October 18, 2012.

Contractors have begun demolition of the former Consol Energy headquarters off Washington Road in Upper St. Clair, but developers who proposed building stores and houses on the 28-acre property have not filed formal plans with the township.

Upper St. Clair issued a demolition permit this month, said Planning Director Scott Brilhart, and demolition of the 175,000-square-foot office building across from South Hills Village mall began last week.

Last year, developers Jerry Cipriani and Hal Kestler outlined plans for retail use along the Washington Road portion of the property. Condominiums, townhouses or single-family homes would be built in the rear, off Fort Couch Road, but they have not yet begun the process of submitting details to the township for approval.

Cipriani and Kestler could not be reached for comment.

“They haven't submitted anything yet, but we know they're working with a landscape architect and working on a master plan,” said Brilhart. “I believe they'll be submitting something in the near future.”

Township commissioners last year approved making mixed-use development a possibility in the Special Business zoning that covers the former Consol property. They used what's called a “text amendment” that covers only the acreage at issue.

Consol sold the land and building in 2008 and moved to Southpointe in Cecil.

During the eight months of hearings that resulted in the amendment, residents voiced concerns that the development would generate too much traffic, could create unsightly “big box” development in an area rife with those, and could have tenants drawing people considered undesirable in the well-to-do bedroom community.

Two residents, Jarrod Shaw and Moira Cain-Mannix, went to court over whether the township properly had notified neighbors about the proposed zoning changes.

An Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge denied their appeal in July, but they appealed that decision to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

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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