whole foods and more

Architect’s rendering of Siena at St. Clair, across from the new Whole Foods.

The doors are finally blowing open on Siena at St. Clair after 10 years of property acquisition, paperwork, zoning changes and legal battles. The signature mixed-use complex on Route 19 across from South Hills Village on the former Consolidated Coal Co. property boasts anchor Whole Foods, which opened in January, and includes 85,000 square feet of retail/offices and 33 patio homes, and townhouses, says Hal Kestler, co-owner of KGA Partners, which owns the site.  Kestler’s son, Geoff Kestler, and son-in-law, Brad Witucki are co-owners. All three partners live in Mt. Lebanon.

The 28+ acre site is located within Upper St. Clair, but Hal Kestler doesn’t see it as just an asset to that township. “We’re bringing value to that corridor, not just Upper St. Clair,” he says. “We’re giving residents of the South Hills a number of options … and a spectrum of places to go.”

Whole Foods, which has two other locations in Pittsburgh, was a prime target for developers. “I am honored to be able to say we’re responsible for bringing that to the South Hills,” Kestler says.

Gwen Tran, co-owner of Envy Nail Spa, is planning a third location, in Siena at St. Clair. /Photo: Linda Hackett

The retail spots to open this spring include: Envy Nail Spa, Scottrade, Xfinity, Sweat Bar (a spin studio) and restaurants The Porch, Hello Bistro and Apericena. The list grows frequently (and we will keep updating you). UPDATE: Confirmed in March: Duck Donuts will open perhaps as early as June/July. Offices and services will co-exist with retail. Development will begin this spring on the homes, all of which are for purchase.

He declined to cite the project cost but said “It’s a substantial number,” especially noting that St. Clair stands to earn a healthy portion of property taxes. Employment in the area also will rise and “these aren’t minimum wage jobs. These are real jobs,” he says.

A common community concern has been about a potential increase in traffic in the corridor. Kestler says his firm’s
traffic impact study was accepted by both the township and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. He doesn’t believe traffic will be greatly impacted as the customers will tend to be drivers already shopping and dining in the area.

Parking will well exceed township zoning requirements, with more than 200 spaces located by Whole Foods alone.

The architectural theme is Tuscan, with a grand fountain located near the entrance. “It’s a unique development for the South Hills of Pittsburgh,” Kestler says.